Dealing with Stress about the Upcoming Gap Year


Sending your child to a foreign country for a gap year can be concerning. Parents worry that their child's getting lost, they worry about their kids experiencing anxiety, and they worry about their kids getting sick. Sending your children to Israel for their gap year is stressful enough, even more so now during a global pandemic, with many parents experiencing a lot of stress and anxiety.

Thanks to EMA Care, most yeshiva and seminaries have a pandemic plan in place in case of another Coronavirus outbreak. Schools that have a pandemic plan have logistical plans (food, laundry, cleaning) to allow their students to properly quarantine on their arrival to Israel and during the year if needed. The schools also have a health and mental health care plan that includes access to the EMA Care 24/7 hotline, on-campus clinics, and telemedicine.

Although there are many protocols set in place in order to make the gap year as stress-free as possible, parents are still feeling the pressure. Here are some helpful guidelines for parents who are very worried about their child in Israel:

  1. Don't project your fears onto your children! Yes, you are understandably nervous about this year, but if your child knows that you are nervous, they are more likely to be nervous too. It is important to keep your children calm when they come to Israel. Talk to your child about their day in yeshiva and try not to mention the pandemic too much.

EMA Care is working tirelessly to ensure that the gap year students have a smooth year without stress. In addition, when the Coronavirus first broke out, EMA Care took care of thousands of students who were in Israel and we had NO Coronavirus cases with many students quarantining successfully! Students should be safe as long as they follow the regulations and rules and there is no reason for parents to make their children more nervous about the upcoming year.

  1. Don't get obsessed with the news. A recent article in the Jerusalem post outlines how to keep informed without being overwhelmed by the news. It's alright to keep informed but checking your smartphone and social media pages every few minutes is not helpful, and in fact, can make your emotional reactions worse.

EMA Care has set up WhatsApp groups in order to inform parents and students about what is going on in Israel, without overwhelming them. If you want to join the group ????


Parents can also ask questions on the group to Efrat Seidenfeld and get a response from the head of EMA Care, Dr. Eliana Aaron.

  1. Take care of yourselves and your families, eat, sleep, do fun activities, and enjoy yourself. For more information on how to de-stress click here, It is important to stay calm and take care of yourself.
  1. Stop calling your kids too often– once a day should suffice. Remember that only 2 decades ago gap-year students didn't have cell phones and somehow kept in touch with their families. Let your kids breathe. Some parents are calling with every bit of news and every outbreak. This isn't healthy. Let your son/ daughter have their year without you breathing down their necks. They know you love them – now it's time to trust them.
  1. Monitor your child (and yourselves) for signs of overwhelming stress. Stress can be handled in many ways, and oftentimes is temporary. EMA care can evaluate the situation and make appropriate referrals in conjunction with the college.

This upcoming Gap Year has many uncertainties, however, it is important to understand that many yeshiva's and seminaries have already dealt with this difficult reality and EMA Care will continue to help them throughout these hard times. 

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