A game plan for reducing anxiety

Back to the Classroom: A Game Plan for Reducing Anxiety

Back-to-school preparation was a little bit different this year for Tarzlyn, whose daughter Zanna is beginning middle school in Manhattan, New York this fall.

She will be going from the comfort and safety of her own home, to being in school with hundreds of other students, changing classrooms all day and becoming familiar with new teachers and surroundings. Along with a day planner, an array of pens and a thick notebook, Zanna added face masks, hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes to her school supplies.

Despite safety concerns, Zanna is excited about going to school and catching up with her friends. It will not be an easy transition. Zanna, like many across the country, spent the last school year in a virtual classroom interacting with other students and teachers only via a computer screen. Going back to in person learning with potential restrictions only added to her anxiety.

“As students prepare to return, they will be facing a more challenging workload,” said Jean Haley Medor, a science instructional specialist at a university in Manhattan. “There is also an excitement about returning to class, tempered by cautious optimism about personal safety. We should have realistic expectations about what students can handle academically, emotionally and physically.”

But parents can help prepare their children for what may be a tough transition.

Tarzlyn feels that open communication with her daughter is key to reducing anxiety. “Every morning, we have breakfast together, plan our day and discuss a scriptural thought,” said Tarzlyn. “I always encourage her to set goals and do her very best.” As one of Jehovah’s Witnesses, she looks for practical Bible Public Information based advice to help with any issues or concerns.

While coronavirus variants have stoked pandemic anxieties, Tarzlyn endeavors not to overlook other challenges her daughter may face.

One of their favorite resources is jw.org, the official website of Jehovah’s Witnesses that is free to all. Topics like “What’s a Real Friend?” and “Beat a Bully Without Using Your Fists” are addressed there in a video series for young people that Zanna recommends to everyone.

“I really liked the article, How To Succeed at School,” said Zanna. “It helped me understand how I can be successful at school, why education and setting goals is important, and how to appreciate my teachers.” She plans to share the article with some of her friends.

For more information, please contact Jehovah’s Witnesses United States at (718) 560–5600 or pid@jw.org.

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