How parents can help kids manage back-to-school stress

Posted at 8:16 PM, Sep 05, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-05 20:21:41-04

LANSING, Mich. — Many Michigan kids are already back in the classroom, and others will head back this week in the midst of a global pandemic.

Districts are continuing to battle it out over mask mandates, and the heated discussions could be having an impact on our kids. Parents might not even know how much stress it's causing.

“I think just being mindful of how we’re talking about it and using respectful language. We don’t need to agree with everyone," Dr. Erin Hunter, the director of the University Center of Child and Family at the University of Michigan said.

Hunter said she's seeing firsthand how kids are feeling the stress of everything, sometimes from adults, especially as they start a new school year. She said it's important to talk about these topics at home.

You should address what's happening, she said. Likely the kids, even young ones, already understand what's different.

She also said you don't have to hide how you feel, just be sure to set an example when expressing it.

Also, ask your child how they feel about their school's policy, and talk about ways you can cope together if it's one you don't personally agree with.

Ingham, Allegan, Wayne, Washtenaw and Oakland counties all require masks inside schools. The policy is being challenged in Oakland, where a resolution was introduced last week to reverse the mandate, but a vote has been postponed.

“The most important thing is listening and supporting your kid and noting when you’re kind of getting caught up in what’s going on with other adults," Hunter said.