How parents can prepare children for a drastically new school year

Some children could be feeling anxious

SAN ANTONIO – As children prepare to return to the classroom, one thing is for sure -- schools will look much different than they did before the pandemic.

Desks will be six feet apart, students will be required to wear masks and some schools are getting rid of breakfast in the cafeteria and turning to a more grab-and-go style -- all changes for which students will need time to adjust.

Dr. Donna Roybal, a child and adolescent psychiatrist with UT Health San Antonio, says it’s important that parents prepare their children in all age groups for the new changes.

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“And it’s also important to let them know that if one of their friends does come up close to them or touches them, that that’s OK. They don’t need to be overly anxious about that, and that they can just address that calmly as they would within their own family,” she said.

Roybal warns parents if they see their child become irritable or inconsolable, they should seek professional help. She said the anxiety of COVID-19 impacts not only adults but also children.

“Usually acting out behavior, some kids just have been very anxious about getting sick or spreading the virus. Other kids have become more isolative, more quiet. So any changes in behaviors that you see from your own child -- and parents know their child’s best -- usually is a cause for concern,” Roybal said.

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Parents can help their children understand the importance of the health guidelines by practicing physical distancing, wearing their mask and not going to other people’s homes in large groups, Roybal said.

“And if the kids see the parents doing that, then the little ones will most likely do what their parents are doing,” she said.

WATCH: Part 2 of Roybal’s interview

About the Authors

Steve Spriester started at KSAT in 1995 as a general assignments reporter. Now, he anchors the station's top-rated 5, 6 and 10 p.m. newscasts.

Brina is the Executive Producer of the NightBeat and KSAT Explains. She has been with KSAT since 2015. She is a Houston native and proud to call San Antonio home.

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