Hartford HealthCare psychologist talks about family anxiety over returning to the classroom this fall

Coronavirus

HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH)– When it comes to kids and teens, a Hartford HealthCare psychologist says attending school is very important.

“They really need the structure, the academic stimulation and the socialization,” says Dr. Laura Saunders of the Institute of Living.

She says that parents may carry more fears about in-person school this fall, but they should really try to avoid having kids pick up on any anxiety or they could feel it themselves.

Dr. Saunders says communication is the key.

“I think having open ended discussions where parents ask not yes or no questions but open ended questions, ‘what are your thoughts about returning to school, is there anything you’re excited about? Is there anything that you’re worried about?'” she says.

She says do not just ask about things they’re worried about – balance it out with positive questions too.

She recommends opening discussions while driving in a car or having a meal together with your child.

“You may need to have multiple discussions to find out what your child’s concerns might be – what their excitement might be.”

And this coming fall, Dr. Saunders believes that teachers will carry an additional burden, receiving back students with not just educational gaps, but some emotional issues.

“Some fear and anxiety. Remember many of them have been isolated for months and that really takes a toll as well,” she adds.

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