TRUMANN, Ark. (KAIT) - As parents and students get ready for school this year, many will decide to do their schoolwork virtually or in a traditional classroom but professionals say to consider students’ mental health.
Dr. Dana Watson, Clinical Psychologist and Supervisor at Families, Inc., suggests starting the conversation now, so they know what to expect.
“The good news is that parents and caregivers already have what it takes to prepare their children to return to school,” she said. “Our children are influenced so much by our verbal messages, our attitudes, and also our indirect attitudes and behaviors. When we talk about preparing them for wearing masks, a lot of what they’re going to do is going to depend on what we do and what we say.”
Telling your student administrators, teachers, janitors, and cafeteria workers will be wearing a mask is important.
Dr. Watson says to remind worrisome students their school has been preparing for months for the safest return possible.
Children will also mirror attitudes and behaviors about the virus and masks. She says this mentality can also be shown as bullying towards other students.
“We have a lot of time before school starts and we can begin to prepare them for the fact that masks are going to come in different types,” she says. “Some will be paper, some will be cloth, some will be fancy, some will be plain. The most important thing is that we stress to them that wearing masks reduces the level of transmission of the virus.”
Physically wearing a mask at home can also prepare students. Dr. Watson suggests attaching masks to a lanyard to help kids keep them close when they aren’t in use.
While the classroom setting may present safety issues in the spread of COVID-19, the home classroom can present issues.
Frustrations from teaching and isolation issues may arise.
Dr. Watson says to keep an eye out for these issues and seek help if they progress.
She says whichever decision you make as a parent or guardian, it’s a good one.
“Parents should know and take comfort in the fact that they’re making the best decisions that they can at this time for their children,” she said.