SPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) -- As some families prepare to send their kids back to school in the fall, health officials said it’s important to talk to your kids about what school might be like during the pandemic.
Health officials said explaining to your kids about what’s going on in the world and listening to their concerns will help them feel more comfortable about going back to school.
For some, heading back into school this fall during the pandemic could leave students with anxiety or feeling stressed.
Kimberly Lee from the Mental Health Association told Western Mass News, a good first step is simply talking with your kids.
"You want to talk with your children with an empathetic ear? You know taking their concerns seriously, remember how demanding academic and social pressure can be even without the additional stress of returning," Lee noted.
She said its important to reinforce the positive aspects of returning to school.
"The lockdown is very important, not to belittle or to dismiss their concerns [and] not to trivialize them in any way. Keep talking, asking your children how are they feeling, what are they most looking forward to," Lee explained.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, parents are advised to remain calm, remember that a child reacts to both what you say and how you say it.
Reassure children that they are safe and that it is ok to feel upset, and they also recommend teaching children how to reduce the spread of germs.
"Parents take time to educate themselves as much as they can, to be very knowledgeable about what the expectations are for their children [as] soon their return to school," she said. "I believe more parents can be prepared, the more they will help their children to be."
The CDC has several more tips on its website to help parents during this time.