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5 Things you can do as a family to manage ‘Back to School’ anxiety

5 Things you can do as a family to manage ‘Back to School’ anxiety

Guest post by Karen Peters, MA ThriveLife Counselling & Wellness

I’ve got two kids and a schedule full of anxious parents asking for counselling to navigate the upcoming “weirdest transition ever” back to school given we’re in the middle of a pandemic, so I get it. “Weird” is an understatement. It’s layered, complex, full of unknowns. 

Understandably, we get caught up pretty quick in all the things we can’t control or plan thoroughly for, and the anxiety that causes can spill over. We need to intentionally (I say that because it requires effort) divert our attention back to what we know, and keep our feet solidly planted on the ground. Because the one thing we CAN do in the midst of a storm of anxious circumstances, is learn to keep ourselves grounded and teach those critical skills to our kids. When we are grounded and present, we can think creatively, solve problems, tolerate stress better, and stay kind and engaged with the world around us. 

You in?

5 things you can do to manage Back to School anxiety (and beyond)

  1. Redesign your family’s morning routine to include mindfulness exercises. Set that alarm 10 min earlier and meet in the living room to stretch together, take 5 deep breaths and notice how you feel. Take a pulse on your body’s sensations and bring your mind to the present. 
  2. Press pause & ask questions – practice gently challenge the worries that pop up. Are they rational? Are they problems you can break down and solve? Even if your worry comes true, will you come out the other side okay?
  3. Insert compassion – validate the person’s experience. When anxiety takes over, we’re quick to judge ourselves for feeling “too much”, but whatever you’re feeling, it’s okay. Remember, the problem is the problem – you are not the problem.
  4. Instead of solving things on the anxious person’s behalf, support them by asking questions that guide them to their own solution. There’s no better antidote to anxiety than to feel capable of coping. 
  5. Check in with yourself – is your anxiety & stress spilling over? Time for some self care. Name 3 things you can do to take care of yourself that take 3 min or less to do.

Interested in learning more about managing worry and stress as a family? Check out these awesome resources at

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