Parenting Connection: How to reduce back-to-school safety anxiety during Covid-19

Parenting Connection

LANSING, Mich. (CBS) – It’s Parenting Connection Tuesday and 6 News is here for you with tips, strategies, and helpful reminders from local child development experts on how we can be better parents and guardians.

Today’s topic: How to reduce back-to-school safety anxiety during Covid-19.

Thousands of local students are now back in the classroom and by the end of March, thousands more will return to in-person instruction as well. Many students are excited, as are parents to somewhat get back to normal, but child experts say, there will be some kids who experience safety anxiety now that they will be among many other people. For others, child experts say it may trigger separation anxiety, due to being around only parents or caregivers for nearly a year.

Doctor Jennifer Louie, a clinical psychologist at the Child Mind Institute says, anxiety will fill the air when students return to school because they’ll be reminded constantly to not get too close to others, to keep their masks on, to use sanitizer, and to wash their hands that may cause some kids to question how safe they really are from getting sick.

Doctor Louis says, when a parent hears or senses this from their kids the best thing to do is:

*Validate their feelings to make sure you understand how they feel
*Set the tone by staying calm and positive
*Help them think positively
*Have a predictable routine leading up to school that will help kids, especially younger ones, feel more secure
*Emphasize the safety measures now in place. Parents can express confidence that schools have done months of planning to minimize risk to keep everyone safe

We’re slowly returning back to normal, but even normal right now is somewhat new — so child experts say, reassuring children that it’s safe to be away from them will go a long way in getting them back into a school mindset, without any safety or separation anxiety.

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