Mental health impact on kids, caused by being away from school on a full-time or part-time basis, is a serious concern among local health experts

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The Center for Disease Control has a checklist for parents to help them better manage their kids’ mental health. CDC Checklist For Parents.

Claire Cameron is a childhood development and educational psychology expert at the University at Buffalo, she says engaging kids with positive questioning could help manage anxiety and stress.

Parents can ask kids questions like .. “This is really hard isn’t it? Tell me what you don’t like about it? Is there anything you like about it? We have so much more time together now, isn’t that great?”

“We’re going to see anxiety, we already have higher anxiety levels than we’d like to see in young children and youth,” said Cameron associate professor of learning at UB.

The CDC says, when it comes to mental health look for signs like excessive crying, irritation, excessive worry, sadness, unhealthy eating or sleeping habits and difficulty concentrating.

Cameron says kids will display anxiety and stress in different ways.

“They might act mad, they might lash out, they might just not be themselves, so those are all markers that the child is stressed and again may not have the words for it,” said Cameron.

Cameron says embracing uncertainty is one tool parents can use to help keep kids mentally healthy.

“I think the more you can prepare your child, telling them that something is going to be different than they’re used to, and it’s to keep people safe, then they won’t be shocked when they walk in school and they see their favorite teacher has a mask on and they can see the person’s smile,” she said.

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