How to help your family deal with the stress of schools remaining closed

Posted at 6:01 PM, May 01, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-01 18:09:01-04

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — How do you help your family deal with the stress of not returning to school? It’s a challenge for parents and children. Erie county's commissioner of health Dr. Gale Burstein and clinical psychologist Dr. Elvira Aletta said talking helps.

“Have a conversation. Talk to your kids. Have those lines of communication open,” Dr. Burstein said.

“The adults responsibility is to help the kid feel safe in all of it, not to pretend that everything's okay… Rather things are weird but it's okay,” said Dr. Aletta.

But how do you convey that message when you're stressed yourself? Take things day by day.

“Whatever happened before, we can't change that. Whatevers happening in the future, we don't know that. But we do have now. We want to convey to the kids that we've got this,” said Dr. Aletta.

The way you talk to your kids depends on how old they are.

Talk to them from where they're at. Answer their questions rather than assume they want to know everything,” Dr. Aletta said.

Dr. Aletta said talk to older kids like a peer, especially if they're a senior in high school.

“Validating that this sucks is probably the best thing to do right now. That this is not cool. This is not usual. This is not normal, and you have a right to grieve for what's happening,” Dr. Aletta said.

If you're child seems to be struggling, if they're not acting like themselves, Dr. Aletta said try going for a drive.

“During that drive you might hear more from your kid than you would at home in the living room. It's amazing how that happens,” said Dr. Aletta.

She says don't lower expectations, just change them.

“ You don't need to be battling it out over a math problem. Just leave the math problem and go put on some Disney,” said Dr. Aletta.

Dr. Aletta said at the end of the day, if you're doing just good enough, you're golden.