Due to COVID-19, this school year will be full of constant changes and unknowns for kids. Just like adults, these changes can make kids fearful and affect their mental health.

Here are some tips for easing their fears this school year.

  • Talk about your own emotions and model how to cope. Kids pick up on verbal and non-verbal cues. If you’re scared or worried, they will be too! Share how you are feeling in age-appropriate ways. Talk about how you are helping yourself feel better, look for the positive, and find ways to make the best of the situation, like creating a new tradition based on your new schedule.
  • Practice daily coping strategies together. You can try daily relaxation practices, mindfulness strategies, or distraction activities to cope with the stress.
  • Remind them they are not alone. Maybe your child struggles with the back and forth between in-person learning and online learning when quarantined and is worried about their grades. Or maybe they are afraid kids will make fun of them for the way they look in their mask. Remind them that everyone is adapting to new ways of doing things and other kids have the same fears they do.
  • Encourage them to ask questions when they don’t understand. Kids are being asked to follow lots of new rules this school year and adapt to new schedules. It’s hard to see whether people are wearing a smile or a frown behind a mask. Encourage them to ask questions whenever they don’t understand something. For children who are extra nervous, you can practice role-playing at home.
  • Encourage kindness. The changes in schedule and isolation brought on by the pandemic are hard for a lot of people. Encourage your child to do something nice for someone or make a new friend this year. You never know how much that act of kindness can encourage someone. Check out ways to practice kindness.
  • Be there. No matter what your child is feeling this school year, let them know you (and other trusted adults like their teacher) are there for them and want them to be successful.