7 On Your Side: What to do if your child is anxious about in-person learning

Leaving the virtual classroom could cause real life anxiety for kids. 7 On Your Side spoke with an expert about the signs parents and guardians should look for as children transition to in-person learning.

“It’s extremely important to realize that there could be some regression in regards to the adjustment of getting back into school,” said Dr. Asha Patton-Smith.

The Kaiser Permanente child psychiatrist said after a year of near constant change for children, getting back to “normal” is anything but.

Even interacting with a group of children could be overwhelming for little ones who’ve spent 12 months with only family members or a pandemic pod. Kids 5 years old and younger could start bed wetting again or have nightmares.

For elementary to middle schoolers, Dr. Patton-Smith said somatic complaints are common.

“Headaches, stomach pain, nausea, vomiting, that seemingly come out of nowhere,” she told ABC7 News reporter Victoria Sanchez during a Zoom interview.

For pre-teens and teens, the anxiety can present as increased irritability, depression and “even more social isolation.”

For all age ranges, some regression is expected especially during a pandemic. Give your child two weeks to get back in the swing of things. Dr. Patton-Smith said it will take time, be patient. If it lasts longer than two weeks, tell your pediatrician or mental health care provider.

She suggests talking with your kids to see what they’re feeling.

“Put your kids lens on a little bit, regress a little bit and think of it from the perspective of your child because sometimes the concerns you have are not concerns for your kids,” said Dr. Patton-Smith.


Watch the full interview on WJLA. 

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