May 15, 2020

Dear Parents,

Seemingly overnight, the world changed and our children have taken notice. In these unprecedented times, we are hearing from some of our school families that their children are showing greater anxiety and demonstrating concerning changes in their behaviors. With that in mind, I have asked Maia Yamasaki, our school counselor, to use this week’s Bacich Bulletin to share with you pertinent and important information on this topic:

You have probably heard the statement going around that while we may not all be in the “same boat” we are all in the “same storm.” While we are all weathering this period of SIP differently, we have had some common experiences as well. I’d like to touch on one theme that’s been popping up in hopes that it gives you at least some comfort in numbers and some reassurance that you are not “lost at sea.”

Many parents have been reaching out to me lately with a similar message; their children are suddenly exhibiting behaviors, using language and expressing emotions that they have never seen before and that they describe as completely “out of character” for their children. The shelter-in-place and multiple week isolation is enough to put many folks “over the edge,” or close to it, and children are no exception (surprise!).

You may have noticed your child becoming increasingly irritable, throwing “toddler-esque” tantrums, or “shutting down” entirely over a situation that they previously would’ve handled easily. Some have shared that their child is saying alarming things, or making threats that are so out of the norm and outlandish, that they are left wondering if something deeper is “wrong” with their child. I want to assure you that you are not alone, and your child is not likely an “outlier.”

Most young children, especially those in the lower elementary grades, do not yet have the cognitive ability to understand what is happening in the world right now, either on a global scale or in their own little microcosm. Furthermore, most of them have not yet developed the emotional vocabulary to share or even identify how they are feeling in the way we adults might expect. They know something major has been happening, but they can’t see it, and therefore it doesn’t seem real. What does seem real to them is that their parents are “making” them stay home and not see their friends and family. Their daily routines and expectations have been turned upside down, and while that may have seemed fun for the first few weeks, now the kids have “hit the proverbial wall” – and guess who they’re blaming? Yup, you.

When young children are having BIG feelings but they don’t know how to express the depth of those feelings, they will often use BIG, HEAVY words. They do this because they want to convey how strong their emotions are; but since they don’t have the vocabulary, they say things that might seem scary; “red flag” statements if you will. There has certainly been an influx in the number of these statements being uttered amongst our youngest students of late. I urge you not to react emotionally (I know it’s easier said than done), and try to help your child get to the heart of the matter by really listening, taking a step back, and even a step away if needed. Please reach out to me anytime by email: if you feel like you/your child needs some help. I am always available to you and to them.


Maia Yamasaki

Thank you,

Sally Peck
Bacich Principal

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