B-P Tackles the Topic of Anxiety in Children In Upcoming Virtual Parent University Session

Broadalbin-Perth’s Parent University will present “Strategies for Childhood Anxiety” in a live virtual session starting at 6:30 p.m., Thursday, November 19. The session will be targeted to parents of B-P Elementary School students in pre-K through grade 6 and will provide a general overview on what anxiety is and how it may present in a child, as well as helpful tools and strategies to help support a child who may show signs of anxiety.

Presenters for the session include Sarah Gabriel, school counselor for Broadalbin-Perth Elementary School and BPES social worker Lauren O’Donnell.

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B-P school counselors Charla Simonson and Jennifer Grimmick oversee Parent University and its programming initiatives. Simonson noted that Thursday’s topic is particularly relevant right now, as children are learning to deal with the uncertainties that COVID-19 has brought to their lives. 

“I don’t know many adults who haven’t somehow been impacted mentally by the pandemic, but as adults, we have the ability to realize our feelings and articulate them to friends, family, or even to our doctor,” Simonson said. “Because children’s’ brains are not yet fully developed, they aren’t able to process why they might be feeling ‘different’ lately and they certainly don’t have the tools they need to manage those feelings.” 

Simonson noted that for some kids, the hybrid learning model has actually helped their anxiety levels because they have to worry less about social stressors they would normally experience at school. 

“Conversely, we’re also noticing that anxiety is showing itself in kids that have never exhibited symptoms before,” she said.

So, what are the signs of anxiety in children? Because younger kids usually can’t articulate feelings of anxiety, BPES school counselor Sarah Gabriel says that anxiety “may mask itself with a child saying they have a ‘tummy ache’ or they’re ‘feeling sad’ — or even a pattern of work avoidance or lack of enthusiasm about school in general.” 

“We hope that this session can give parents some solid tips on how to recognize the many forms in which anxiety can manifest itself, and how they can help their child manage anxiety,” Gabriel said. 

About Parent University:

Parent University is a community collaboration led by the Broadalbin-Perth Central School District. B-P partners with community agencies and organizations to offer free courses, family events and activities that will equip families with new or additional skills, knowledge, resources and the confidence to become full partners in their children’s education. The goal of Parent University is to increase parent involvement in B-P schools and empower parents to raise children who are successful in school and in life. Research has shown that parents can increase a child’s academic success through their involvement with schools and communities. Parental involvement improves student morale, attitudes, and academic achievement across all subject areas.