Back to school: talking to your kids about how you feel

You cannot be blamed for feeling more anxious or stressed about the return to school this year. We’re living through an unknown time with many unanswered questions.

However, it is important to talk to your children about these feelings; they’re going to sense your stress anyway.

“I think it’s important to admit to your child if you’re feeling anxious about it, because they pick up on it, and to walk through with them your concerns,” said Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit Medical Officer of Health Dr. Charles Gardner. “It would be important to become really informed about COVID-19 and children, and the nature of the risk.”

Gardner pointed out children are at a considerably lower risk of contracting COVID-19, experiencing a more severe case of it, or even dying from it.

“Here in Simcoe-Muskoka, about five percent of our cases have been in children, and none of them have been hospitalized and we’ve had no deaths.”

“Being well informed about the nature of the risk would be helpful, and then walking through with your child on what they can do to reduce the risk,” Dr. Gardner pointed to proper handwashing, mask use, and physical distancing, not just at school but afterward too.

“I know that with children, that’s going to be tough, it’s going to be a challenge to achieve,” concluded Gardner. “But if you can empower them with knowledge, and share with them your own feelings and why, at least you’re giving a name to the feeling. They’ll understand your anxiety instead of not understanding it, which could make it worse.”