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9 tips for your emotional health from a therapist

Emotional turbulence is likely to come with the changes headed for families this fall. As students return to school with online or hybrid formats and traditional events canceled, emotions will run high for families.
Published: Aug. 18, 2020 at 10:55 AM CDT
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - Emotional turbulence is likely to come with the changes headed for families this fall. As students return to school with online or hybrid formats and traditional events canceled, emotions will run high for families.

Jessica Schindler is a therapist at Wichita State Student Health Services. She has some tips to help your family work through the changes.

  1. Keep a daily routine. Schindler says consistency is a basic human need. She says kids should wake up and eat at the same time each day, no matter the school schedule.
  2. Kids could misbehave more. Your spouse could also act out of character. Schindler says stress causes us to act differently. She encourages families to have more patience and grace with one another.
  3. Use "I" statements when talking about conflict. Schindler says talk about your emotions. For example, you can say "I felt very betrayed or very upset when this situation happened." She does not recommend placing blame on the other person. "That just tends to make people defensive and it isn't very helpful in trying to resolve conflict or problems," Schindler says.
  4. Pay attention to your child's physical needs. When schools reopen with restrictions on close contact, kids won't be able to hug their teachers or friends. Your kids may be more cuddly or needy. Schindler encourages parents to provide more of that physical touch for kids at home.
  5. Understand it's not permanent. Schindler says it may be hard to accept right now, but the discomfort is temporary. She says things will return to normal, or your family will comfortably adjust to the new normal.
  6. Financial strain can cause other problems. Parents are changing jobs, working fewer hours or taking a pay cut to be able to be home with the kids. Schindler says money problems cause arguments for families. She recommends keeping open communication with your partner and calmly talking through disagreements.
  7. Family time is important. Kids need love and support from the family during this transition. Schindler says the internet has ideas for free or low-cost activities for the family to do while spending time together.
  8. Encourage social interaction with friends. Kids may not be at school with their friends as often as they used to be. Schindler says you can set up playdates outside or over Zoom to provide your kids with social interaction with their peers.
  9. Seek professional help if you want it. Schindler says therapy and counseling doesn’t have to be a big commitment of time or money. “You can definitely benefit from just one or two sessions with a counselor or therapist and just being able to vent to someone for a session or two about what’s going on. Sometimes just being able to get it out in the open is beneficial,” Schindler says. Some clinics are offering discounts or sliding scale rates for families financially impacted by COVID.

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