We’re hiring!  View our open positions

Are you a current client? Contact your clinic

Back to School – Feelings and Learning

Back to School Transition Feelings

How to Check-In after the first day or week of school.

by Allison Bashe, Ph.D

KDKA news interviewed New Directions Counseling Clinic Director, Dr. Allison Bashe on best approaches to going back to school. Parents want to know what happened that day. Children are often tired from adjusting their schedules.

Here are some snippets of the interview:
(click on the graphic to read the full story)

school feelings and learning - new directions counseling“Maybe just attending to basic needs first, do you need a drink of water? Do you need a little snack? Just maybe letting the kids have some downtime,” said New Directions Clinical Director Dr. Allison Bashe.

She said to listen if they want to talk but maybe hold your questions for dinnertime and then just keep it simple.

Dr. Bashe does what she called “Roses, Leaves, and Thorns” with her kids.

“The roses are what were the good things you did today or that happened to you, the leaves are kind of the middle ground, and the thorns are ‘this was a not-so-good thing’ that happened to me today,” she described.

She also advises parents to ask specific questions.


Back to School – In-Person Learning

Many middle and high schools are now opening their doors!

back to school in person learning

Watch Full News Story by Clicking Image

KDKA morning news reached out to New Directions Counseling and Dr. Allison Bashe to gather expert advice on transitioning back to in-person learning.

“The most important thing you can do when someone shares a concern is to validate how the person is feeling, meet them where there are.” In other words don’t dismiss your child fears with a quick ‘Oh, you’ll be okay.’

Dr. Bashe says, “Sometimes we rush too quickly to say it’s going to be okay or here’s what you can do to make it better. And we skip over the really important part, which is just saying, Yes, I understand. I know that you’re scared. This is hard. Acknowledging those fears actually helps us get past them a little more quickly.”

New Directions Counseling’s clinical director recognizes children feel at the mercy of adults. She suggests an open, fair conversation to build confidence in going back to school is helpful.

“By just letting them know that they have control over some of the measures they can take to keep themselves safe, and to reduce that anxiety. You know, we know wearing masks, keeping some distance, washing your hands. Those are the things we know we can do and we have control over those things.”

Treating this transition like any other with school helps to normalize it. “What are the routines putting the clothes out the day before, packing lunches, just getting back into some normal routines can be really helpful. Bed times wake times. Those are really important things we can do to help create some normalcy.”

Is this in-person learning school anxiety or typical situational worry. “Find out more about it, because then you can figure out is this about COVID is this is just about who I’m going to sit with at lunch. Is it about, you know I haven’t seen my friends in a while, are they still gonna want to hang out with me. Once you find out what the fears are, then you can move into addressing those fears.”

And if the worries are related to the pandemic, “The best thing we can do as parents, in general is to project, positive attitudes, our confidence in our kids and ourselves and our teachers and our schools and our districts, I think, in our community at large. I think that confidence and positivity. That’s what’s going to get us through this.”

If you child is having more anxiety or fears then you anticipated about school, please contact us at 724.934.3905.