A Class in COVID: Helping kids deal with back-to-school separation anxiety

Back To School

HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — After months at home with parents and siblings, many children are now returning to their classroom with schools around Connecticut opening up. Many can have feelings of anxiety about this change.

Doctor Robert Keder, a developmental and behavioral pediatrician with Connecticut Children’s Medical Center says discussing how they feel is important, and parents should appear strong.

“Take your deep breath first and that way you can be nice and present with your kids and talk about their feelings and what’s going on,” advises Dr. Keder.

RELATED: CT educators taking course to help deal with stress and anxiety of returning to school during pandemic

He recommends parents use positive encouragement with their messaging and provides an example of what to say.

“Well, ‘we’re going to school because it’s safe to go to school right now when we keep our masks on.’ And ‘it’s going to be okay’ and ‘I’m really proud of you for going to school’ and ‘I can’t wait to see you when you come home and tell me how your day went,'” offered Dr. Keder.

He advises parents to be understanding, but only to a point.

“When kids are anxious we want to support them but we don’t want to over accommodate the anxiety either,” he says.

He says some kids have what’s called separation anxiety disorder, which is more than a rough drop off.  It’s kids who follow their parents from room to room. He recommends seeking professional help.

RELATED: A Class in COVID: Increased anxiety, educational gaps expected as students return to school

“It is a pandemic; we should all have access to somebody that you can talk to about it and the good news is that there’s a lot of availability of teletherapy and finding therapists who could help talk you through everything and what supports will work specifically for your child.”

If parents sense that their child is struggling with a return to class, Dr. Keder recommends communicating that to their teacher. He says getting kids back to school is an all-hands-on-deck team effort and communication will be important.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Trending Stories

Don't Miss

More Don't Miss