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Tips on getting your kids mentally prepared for the upcoming school year

Mental health professional gives advice on how parents can calm their child's fears and anxieties

SAN ANTONIO – The COVID-19 pandemic has been hard and stressful on many and now kids may be feeling that stress as they head into a new school year with many unknowns.

According to a recent report by Time Magazine, even though coronavirus may have spared most kids from the illness, but the effect on their mental health may be worsening.

Jewish Family Services of San Antonio is already seeing some mental health symptoms among children locally as parents are starting to reach out.

“It feels like we have nothing but uncertainty right now and that can really increase anxiety, frustration, especially as we go on and on,” said Kristy Dean, chief clinical officer for the Jewish Family Center of San Antonio. “We’re really starting to see that in our community.”

Dean goes on to say that the most helpful thing to do right now is to talk to your child and remain calm.

“If they can approach it with calm and optimism, then that becomes contagious for the child,” Dean said.

Having that conversation doesn't always have to be serious either, it can be done in a fun way to ease a child's fears about not really knowing what's going to happen.

“The discussions will build resilience, social, emotional skills that they need to navigate this uncertainty so that they can begin to anticipate a range of possibilities for what might happen,” Dean said.

There are a lot of resources available right now to help parents and the Jewish Family Center of San Antonio is one of them.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also has some helpful tips about how to talk to your children.

  • Remain calm and keep it simple.
  • Reassure children that they are safe.
  • Make yourself available to listen and talk
  • Avoid language that might blame others
  • Pay attention to what children see or hear on television, radio or online.
  • Provide information that is truthful and appropriate.
  • Teach children everyday actions to reduce the spread of germs.
  • Discuss any new actions that may be taken at school to help protect children and school staff.

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