Back-to-school season this year presents unique challenges for parents, teachers and students. Jeffrey Borenstein, M.D., President & CEO of the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation, offers recommendations for parents to help their children cope with the anxiety and stress of back-to-school during COVID-19.

– Communicate with your child about back-to-school plans and listen to their concerns. Encourage them to be flexible as plans may continue to change.
– Don’t be afraid to discuss coronavirus, but be age-appropriate and reassuring. As much as possible try to project a sense of calm and control.
– Help your child understand the importance of social distancing, handwashing, and wearing a mask.
– Whether your child is going to a classroom, being homeschooled, or participating in virtual classes, try to help them focus on the positive aspects of the experience.
– Make sure your child is eating well, getting enough sleep and keeping physically active.
– Try to maintain a structured daily routine at home.
– Remind teenagers often that they are helping to protect others by following health guidelines.
– If your child is participating in distance learning, create opportunities for them to socialize safely with friends, perhaps via video chats or FaceTime.
– It is natural to be anxious during this time, but if anxiety begins to impair your child’s or your own ability to function, that is the time to seek professional assistance.

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