Parenting expert Donna Tetreault says as we leave our safety bubbles, parents need to remember "empathy and understanding." "Tell your kids, 'We are resilient, we made it through this. There's this new hope,'" she shares.
To establish more structure -- which might have been lacking in the last year -- she also suggests bringing back the weekly family meeting to share feelings and to check in. Donna tells us being mindful of gratitude will also be important, explaining it has been linked to helping with depression, anxiety, and our overall mental health.
If your child is nervous about returning to in-person school, Donna says to gently remind the child they will be safe at school and to ask them, "How can I help you?" More often than not, the child will tell you exactly what they need if you ask them directly. The parenting expert says no matter what type of feelings your child might be having, allow them to express those feelings, hear them out and recognize them.
Another suggestion from Donna to help a nervous child -- pack a safety kit that includes an extra mask, hand sanitizer, snack, and a loving and encouraging note.