ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — There are still a lot of questions about COVID-19, and as schools get ready to respond, parents are looking for ways to talk to their kids in a reassuring and informative matter.
Armanda Zardzewiala thinks the coronavirus could hit area schools anyday. With two children in the East Irondequoit School District, she has been talking to them every day about creating healthy habits.
“I’m deff nervous because it’s not a matter of if it’s a matter of when,” said Zardzewiala.
No school-aged students in upstate New York have tested positive for the coronavirus, but Governor Andrew Cuomo has called for a shutdown of any school that has an infected student.
Child psychiatrists say the uncertainty of the virus and the potential of school shutdowns can have a huge toll on the mental health of young children.
“We know how important structure is for kids. right. so having reliable folks around them and a reliable team around them can be such an important part about maintaining someone’s mental health and wellness,” said Dr. Kathleen Baynes, a child psychiatrist.
“One thing that’s gonna be important for parents to think through how to talk to their kids in ways that’s both reassuring and in a way that doesn’t sort of over-promise, doesn’t minimize what could be big changes coming down the pipeline,” said Dr. Baynes.
Parents like Zardzewiala are already starting to heave those conversations.
“I’m not trying to instill this to make them fearful just to make them aware that they’re healthy, as well as everyone around them, their health is very important as well,” said Zardzewiala.
The Centers for Disease Control recommends creating a household plan tailored to the needs of your family. They say creating a clear cut health routine, such as washing your hands before meals, can help protect kids while creating structure.