(WKBN) – Nationwide Children’s Hospital released a new survey that asked parents about COVID-19 concerns and sending their kids back to school.
Turns out, nearly the same number of parents worried about their kids contracting the virus are worried about the mental and emotional toll that fears of the virus and the uncertainty of the school year will bring.
So, how can you help your kids calm their fears? Do teachers think a smooth transition into the school year is possible? Here is what local doctors and educators had to say.
Some students made it through the end of the school year online just fine, but a local woman who teaches high school students said that wasn’t the case for everyone.
“Some weeks I could tell they just couldn’t do online learning so I said write a paper about how this is affecting you. These were juniors and seniors. One girl wrote, ‘I haven’t gotten out of bed all week long,'” said teacher Christina Toth.
Now, parents, educators and students all face the same question, do we go back to the classroom? That uncertainty can add a lot of stress.
“The combination of uncertainty of what it’s going to look like and the differences from what kids and teens think of in their traditional schooling experiences are kind of the perfect combination for increased mental health issues for kids, teens and parents,” said pediatric psychologist Mallory Zehe.
Zehe says some kids are worried. Some of her patients had concerns about breaking social distancing rules, wearing masks and not seeing their friends.
“Sometimes we can inadvertently minimize their emotional experiences by trying to offer reassurance. So saying things like, ‘You’re gonna be fine, don’t worry about it,'” Zehe said.
Instead, let them know you’ll work through it with them and problem solve.
“Help kids to identify and use their coping skills. So helping them to say, like, when you start to feel an intense feeling, what can you do to help calm yourself down or bring yourself back to baseline?” Zehe said.
Finally, pay attention to the signs that your child might be struggling.
“We’re looking for increased emotionality; kids, teens more tearful or sad; more angry or frustrated; more reactive,” Zehe said.
She added for kids staying at home, keep structure. Have a designated space that’s consistent and work with the kids on creating their schedule for classwork.
Of course, there are resources, tutoring and counseling you can find through schools and local hospitals if they need that extra help going in.
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