Thursday, December 9

‘Normal’ anxiety as students return to school in much of the country


Anxiety can be a common feeling when students go back to school across the country except Auckland today, but that’s normal, says a psychologist.

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Photo: RNZ / Claire Eastham-Farrelly

University of Auckland clinical psychologist Dr Melanie Woodfield said Morning report Anxiety had an important function and that when the children returned to school for the first time since alert level 4 was activated, it was an opportunity to discuss it.

“A little bit of anxiety is really natural and normal and we often hear this notion that some emotions are good and some are bad.

“Anxiety tends to be grouped under the category of buried, but really anxiety is a really important function and purpose. It’s kind of on our threat or danger radar.

“It makes perfect sense for that alarm system … to be tweaked a little more during the first days of school for the kids, the parents, and the teachers.”

It was an opportunity to talk to the children about anxiety, he said.

“However, one thing that I encourage parents to do is separate the feeling from any behavior associated with it.

“So what I mean by that is that it’s perfectly natural and normal to feel stressed or anxious, but it’s not okay to hit your brother for it, and I think the distinction between the feeling and any behavior associated with it is really important.” .

She was interested in seeing how the use of the mask worked in schools.

Wearing masks may be an example of a “funny question” that could come up for children in the coming days, especially younger ones, Woodfield said.

“I suspect there will be a bit of dissonance, for example. There may be a friend or a child at school that they really like who is not wearing a mask and they are, or vice versa, and it could be difficult for young people to children to Find out why someone they like is doing something that is wrong or wrong.

“I think that’s another opportunity for parents to sow some seeds for conversations that will be even more prevalent in adolescence, as this notion that someone they like or respect might do something they don’t like or think is wrong or it’s not okay. “

As for navigating seeing friends again, Woodfield said children of today and tomorrow, parents and teachers can be uncomfortable and forced when it comes to physical contact.

“That is really normal and I suspect that everything will work out in the next week or two.”

For Auckland students and families, Woodfield said parents should do things that bring them joy.

“Do things that restore your ability to meet the needs of your children. This is a really difficult time.”

Gregor Fountain, Principal of Wellington College, said Morning report The first thing the school was trying to do when it reopened today was to acknowledge the variety of feelings among the students.

“So our plan is to try and balance that wellness approach with some routine so that we start the day with a mihi whakatau … then we will have some shorter periods and end the day with a tutor time so that the tutors can connect with their pastoral groups and just get a feel for how everyone is doing.

“We will follow all the guidelines of the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Education.”

At the end of the day, the school would conduct an exit survey for the students to find out the different needs among the students.


www.rnz.co.nz

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