Back to Virtual School Without Anxiety: Tips for Parents

I Don't Want To Go To School!
Early one morning a mother went to her sleeping son and woke him up.
"Wake up, son. It's time to go to school."
"But why, Mama? I don't want to go to school."
"Give me two reasons why you don't want to go to school."
"One, all the children hate me. Two, all the teachers hate me, ..."
"Oh! that's no reason. Come on, you have to go to school!"
"Give me two good reasons WHY I should go to school?"
"One, you are FIFTY-TWO years old. Two, you are the PRINCIPAL of the school."
— Author unknown
Most parents have heard the words “I don’t want to go to school” before. The joke above reminds us that children are not the only ones anxious about returning to school.

Still, not being liked is a key reason why the return to school leaves students fraught with anxiety. Often students also have fears about the curriculum, worrying about whether they can complete the work set by their teachers. They also worry that they won’t find the curriculum interesting and/or won’t be sufficiently challenged or stretched by the curriculum. The 2020 pandemic, punctuated by restrictions, has students faced with returning to a nontraditional educational format, making further anxiety inevitable.
Forms of Anxiety

Francesca Coltrera, editor of Harvard Medical School’s Health Blog, identifies three forms of anxiety present in children:

• Separation anxiety: Children can be very anxious and upset when parted from parents and caregivers; they refuse to attend camp, sleepovers, or play dates; they worry that bad things will happen to self or loved ones while separated.

• Social anxiety: Anxious children exhibit strong fear of social situations; they are very anxious and self-conscious around others; they...


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About Maria Kennedy

Maria M. Kennedy first joined the Bridges Academy staff as the director of the Phoenix Program. After successfully growing the program each year, she has taken on the position of director of the Bridges Educational Group. A speaker, author, and advocate, Maria has been featured on "Bright and Quirky," as a panelist and educational expert. Several schools have used her webcast, 'Strengths, Challenges, and my journey as my son’s advocate," for teacher training. An educator for almost 30 years, Maria received her B.Ed. and M.Ed. in education from Manchester University (U.K). She earned Advanced Teacher Status from the Manchester Department of Education for her ability to develop curriculum and her skills within the classroom. She traveled internationally, teaching students and training teachers how to tap into the strengths of their gifted and challenged students. As a result of her work she has received several awards: “Teacher of the Year,” in North Carolina, “Golden Apple, Elementary Teacher of the Year,” in the Cayman Islands, and “New American Hero, an award for teaching and leadership excellence,” in Louisiana. Maria believes that to be an effective educator you must continue to learn and grow as a person. With this in mind, she constantly reads and works closely with leading educators in the field of 2e education. She enjoys writing and her first children’s book, "Do you see me? The diary of a 2e kid," will be available shortly.