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Helping your kids deal with separation anxiety this fall
Photo by Ben Wicks on Unsplash

After a long, trying, and chaotic year, things are (slowly) getting back to normal. Malls are open. Restaurants are welcoming customers again — with many serving up hope alongside hors d'oeuvres — and employees across the country are returning to the office. This fall, our children will go back to school. But this return to "normal" is affecting the youngest members of our society in ways few expected. Case in point: Many children are struggling with separation anxiety, or an extraordinary fear of being separated from their parents or caretaker[s].

"All children and teens experience anxiety," Sabrina Romanoff, a clinical psychologist and professor at Yeshiva University in New York, tells Upworthy. "It is a normative process of development... [however,] there has been an uptick in separation-related anxiety due to the pandemic."



"Separation anxiety is when a child becomes fearful or worried when they are separated from their parent or caretaker," Ben Barer — a licensed clinical social worker — adds. "The feelings that are commonly felt include excessive worry, nervousness, sadness, and loneliness."

Of course, the response is — in many ways — unsurprising. Most children have been living under one roof for 17 months. They lacked structure, traditional schooling, playdates, and (in some cases) socialization and friends. Mommy and Daddy were all they knew. But as schools across the nation open their doors, and teachers welcome children back to class, fear is rising: fear of COVID, socialization, progress, and being alone.


Photo by Joshua Hoehne on


"Separation anxiety happens when someone becomes co-dependent on another person and becomes excessively nervous when they are not within their presence," Jacqueline P. Wight, the director of mental health at DotCom Therapy, tells Parade. "It is common in children with their parents/caregivers and is known to become increasingly worse during times of stress." Like now. The pandemic has been a major stressor for parents and children alike.

So how can you cope with separation anxiety? How can you help your child get a handle on their fears — and manage stress? According to Barer, there are numerous things you can do to ease your child back into a "normal" routine.

"Depending on the child's age, there are several helpful strategies that can be implemented at the time of separation so the child will be able to cope better with his or her feelings," Barer says. "For example, if your toddler is starting daycare, visiting the daycare beforehand and doing a tour of the facility can be helpful for the toddler, as this will not be an entirely new experience for them when they get dropped off. If your child is around elementary age, having discussions about what drop off might look like, what feelings the child might feel when being separated, and even parents sharing their own feelings can be reassuring for the child. It helps them learn that feelings of worry and nervousness are completely normal. And teens can benefit from conversations like this, too."

"Talking to your child and providing them with encouragement and support is imperative," Romanoff adds — regardless of their age.


Photo by Torsten Dederichs on


Of course, there are other things you should do, too.

"Develop a routine for saying goodbye to your child," Wight suggests. "This will look different for each child, but think of special, loving ways to say goodbye when you will be separated. Be honest with your child about the plan. If you're picking them up at the end of the school day, say it. With the best of intentions, parents and caregivers might be inclined to share a plan that is easier for the child to hear, but not necessarily the truth. However, honesty is best. If your child is experiencing anxiety about returning to school, be sure that your child socializes with friends beforehand in order to ease the transition. If there is a specific situation that causes the anxiety (ex. school drop off), get lots of practice in advance." And prepare them now for "alone time," i.e. it's necessary to expose your child to being separated from you.

"It's always best to take small steps at first," Wight explains. "Identify an adult that the child feels most comfortable with and have that adult watch the child for a short amount of time. If that goes well, slowly increase the amount of time. If there are one or two friends that your child is most eager to see, set up a time for them to play/hang out when you will not be present. Make it a time-limited activity and share the plan with the child so that they know what to expect. And if, at any point, the child struggles with an experience, consider trying that experience again with some more preparation, problem-solving, etc. prior to moving on to new experiences." In short, take things easily. Slowly. Baby steps.


That said, while parents and caregivers can approach this issue with the best of intentions and the best (and most thorough) of plans, sometimes children need more. Parental support isn't always enough, especially in cases of anxiety — when you're dealing with the effects of a mental health. If you feel your child isn't responding to the aforementioned suggestions as you would like and/or if they are still experiencing extreme feelings of nervousness, apprehension, sadness, or fear, you may want to reach out for additional support.

"Parents do not need to wait until their child's struggle feels like a crisis to get help," Wight explains. "In fact, it's actually best to proactively seek support. And while parents know their children best, there are qualified and thoughtful professionals that can help parents and their children navigate through challenging situations."

All images provided by Bombas

We can all be part of the giving movement

True

We all know that small acts of kindness can turn into something big, but does that apply to something as small as a pair of socks?

Yes, it turns out. More than you might think.

A fresh pair of socks is a simple comfort easily taken for granted for most, but for individuals experiencing homelessness—they are a rare commodity. Currently, more than 500,000 people in the U.S. are experiencing homelessness on any given night. Being unstably housed—whether that’s couch surfing, living on the streets, or somewhere in between—often means rarely taking your shoes off, walking for most if not all of the day, and having little access to laundry facilities. And since shelters are not able to provide pre-worn socks due to hygienic reasons, that very basic need is still not met, even if some help is provided. That’s why socks are the #1 most requested clothing item in shelters.

homelessness, bombasSocks are a simple comfort not everyone has access to

When the founders of Bombas, Dave Heath and Randy Goldberg, discovered this problem, they decided to be part of the solution. Using a One Purchased = One Donated business model, Bombas helps provide not only durable, high-quality socks, but also t-shirts and underwear (the top three most requested clothing items in shelters) to those in need nationwide. These meticulously designed donation products include added features intended to offer comfort, quality, and dignity to those experiencing homelessness.

Over the years, Bombas' mission has grown into an enormous movement, with more than 75 million items donated to date and a focus on providing support and visibility to the organizations and people that empower these donations. These are the incredible individuals who are doing the hard work to support those experiencing —or at risk of—homelessness in their communities every day.

Folks like Shirley Raines, creator of Beauty 2 The Streetz. Every Saturday, Raines and her team help those experiencing homelessness on Skid Row in Los Angeles “feel human” with free makeovers, haircuts, food, gift bags and (thanks to Bombas) fresh socks. 500 pairs, every week.

beauty 2 the streetz, skid row laRaines is out there helping people feel their beautiful best

Or Director of Step Forward David Pinson in Cincinnati, Ohio, who offers Bombas donations to those trying to recover from addiction. Launched in 2009, the Step Forward program encourages participation in community walking/running events in order to build confidence and discipline—two major keys to successful rehabilitation. For each marathon, runners are outfitted with special shirts, shoes—and yes, socks—to help make their goals more achievable.

step forward, helping homelessness, homeless non profitsRunning helps instill a sense of confidence and discipline—two key components of successful recovery

Help even reaches the Front Street Clinic of Juneau, Alaska, where Casey Ploof, APRN, and David Norris, RN give out free healthcare to those experiencing homelessness. Because it rains nearly 200 days a year there, it can be very common for people to get trench foot—a very serious condition that, when left untreated, can require amputation. Casey and Dave can help treat trench foot, but without fresh, clean socks, the condition returns. Luckily, their supply is abundant thanks to Bombas. As Casey shared, “people will walk across town and then walk from the valley just to come here to get more socks.”

step forward clinic, step forward alaska, homelessness alaskaWelcome to wild, beautiful and wet Alaska!

The Bombas Impact Report provides details on Bombas’s mission and is full of similar inspiring stories that show how the biggest acts of kindness can come from even the smallest packages. Since its inception in 2013, the company has built a network of over 3,500 Giving Partners in all 50 states, including shelters, nonprofits and community organizations dedicated to supporting our neighbors who are experiencing- or at risk- of homelessness.

Their success has proven that, yes, a simple pair of socks can be a helping hand, an important conversation starter and a link to humanity.

You can also be a part of the solution. Learn more and find the complete Bombas Impact Report by clicking here.

via UNSW

This article originally appeared on 07.10.21


Dr. Daniel Mansfield and his team at the University of New South Wales in Australia have just made an incredible discovery. While studying a 3,700-year-old tablet from the ancient civilization of Babylon, they found evidence that the Babylonians were doing something astounding: trigonometry!

Most historians have credited the Greeks with creating the study of triangles' sides and angles, but this tablet presents indisputable evidence that the Babylonians were using the technique 1,500 years before the Greeks ever were.


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This article originally appeared on 07.10.21


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14 things that will remain fun no matter how old you get

Your inner child will thank you for doing at least one of these.

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

Swings can turn 80-year-olds into 8-year-olds in less that two seconds.

When we’re kids, fun comes so easily. You have coloring books and team sports and daily recess … so many opportunities to laugh, play and explore. As we get older, these activities get replaced by routine and responsibility (and yes, at times, survival). Adulthood, yuck.

Many of us want to have more fun, but making time for it still doesn’t come as easily as it did when we were kids—whether that’s because of guilt, a long list of other priorities or because we don’t feel it’s an age-appropriate thing to long for.

Luckily, we’ve come to realize that fun isn’t just a luxury of childhood, but really a vital aspect of living well—like reducing stress, balancing hormone levels and even improving relationships.

More and more people of all ages are letting their inner kids out to play, and the feelings are delightfully infectious.

You might be wanting to instill a little more childlike wonder into your own life, and not sure where to start. Never fear, the internet is here. Reddit user SetsunaSaigami asked people, “What always remains fun no matter how old you get?” People’s (surprisingly profound) answers were great reminders that no matter how complex our lives become, simple joy will always be important.

Here are 14 timeless pleasures to make you feel like a kid again:

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