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How to talk to kids of all ages about uncertainty surrounding school, changes caused by COVID-19

10TV sat down with Dr. Parker Huston, a pediatric psychologist from Nationwide Children's Hospital to get some answers.

COLUMBUS, Ohio — During this pandemic, families are being forced to navigate uncharted territory and with that comes many questions.

10TV sat down with Dr. Parker Huston, a pediatric psychologist from Nationwide Children's Hospital to get some answers.

How do I talk to my child about the uncertainty surrounding this school year? 

"Just being realistic with them that this school year is going to be really different no matter what. We can be flexible enough and we can practice safe behaviors when we are there and when we are at home to keep ourselves and other people safe and healthy. There will be some great things about going back to school, but there are also some fun things about staying home part-time too."

How can I help prepare my child for the possibility of wearing a mask all day?

"I think the biggest thing to do is practice at home and demystify it before you expect them to do it in public or for a prolonged period of time," Huston said. "[For example,] 'Let's just put in on for 30 seconds and take it off. What was that like? How did that feel? Was it itchy? Was it uncomfortable?'"

I've been home with my kids for so long. How can I help avoid separation anxiety?

"[In our house] we've started with like, 'Mom is going to run an errand now.' She's gone for 20 minutes and comes back. Or, 'We are going to go outside and we're going to play and mom is going to stay inside for a bit.' These mini separations and reunions - you're almost doing a little therapy for your kids. You are just gradually reintroducing them to the idea they can separate from parents and it will be OK when they reunite."

How should I talk to my child in high school and college so they take COVID-19 seriously?

"Ask them some questions in a non-confrontational way. What do you know about coronavirus and how we are trying to prevent it and keep people healthy? Where are you getting your information from? Is there something I should read as a parent that you've read and feel explains something to you," Huston said. "I think what we can appeal to is during that time in their lives, they are forming their adult identity. We can talk about their responsibility to other people from a moral and ethical standpoint."

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