COLORADO SPRINGS — Heading back to school right now can cause feelings of anxiety and stress in kids. According to child psychologists, it's completely normal for kids to fear the unknown. Many things have changed since kids were last at school and experts are encouraging families to talk about those feelings.
"The most the most important things to do are talk in realistic language, but also to partner with kids about working through it together, how you can support them and how you can provide a consistent presence for them," explained Parker Huston, pediatric psychologist for Children's Hospital.
If your kids are going back in person, what are they expected to do differently at school? How are teachers and students expected to stay at a safe distance from each other?
Whatever changes your family is going through this year, it can be helpful to practice for what's ahead. If kids are doing virtual learning, go through the new routine. If they're going to class in person, take a look at the new rules and regulation the school has in place. Even if they're doing school online, parents should find out their school's plan.
Huston says parents should be on the look out for any behavioral changes in their kids. Take notice of any personality changes or changes in their mood.
"If they're normally an outgoing kid, are they seeming withdrawn or introverted? Or not wanting to engage? Or vice versa - are they acting out a lot?" Huston explained.
Families should encourage conversations about how they're feeling and thinking, and how to manage those emotions.
For more information on how to help kids right now, how to recognize these changes, and how to start conversations about mental health, click here.