The countdown to the first day of school is can be filled with excitement, new clothes, new supplies, but this year the unknown may be worrisome for some before heading back to the classroom.

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WKBW-TV spoke with Licensed psychologist Dr. Amy Beth Taublieb who said...

“This is a very, very difficult time for the young people in our community. Kids always have a certain amount of shall we say normal — and I hate that word — but a certain amount of normal anxiety in going back to school, but now look at what they are experiencing. Kids not only have to juggle their own anxiety, but also pick up on anxiety in their environment"

When asked how to talk to your child about school this fall, and the difference between this and a "normal" school year Dr. Taublieb replied:

“I think first and foremost, parents have to recognize it’s okay to say I don’t know. And it’s okay to actually articulate and verbalize to your kid, ‘Ya know I’m a little worried about that too. Let’s talk about this together.’ Because that way you give your child permission to feel what he or she feels."

The most important thing parents can do at this point is to start an open dialogue.

“You don’t want to give them more anxiety than they have, but you do want to give them permission to express their fears and anxiety and let them know it’s okay,” she said.

Pay attention to how your child responds when you are talking to them.  If they are saying, things like ‘I don’t care, I feel fine,’ but are fidgeting…you may want to look for other signs that your child is experiencing anxiety or worry...

"Honesty is the best policy," could not be more true when it comes to talking to your children, but Dr. Taublieb suggested it all needs to be presented positively.

Other things to be on the lookout for are any behavioral changes in your child that last for more than a day:

  • Sleeping too much
  • Not sleeping enough
  • Nightmares
  • Overeating
  • Under-eating
  • Isolation
  • Misbehaving

These can be possible signs of worry, anxiety, or depression.