anaphylactic reaction

How To Reduce Their Back To School Nerves & Covid-19 Concerns

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Among those children returning to in-person school this year, many have fears of being exposed to Covid-19. For our amazing food-allergy community, this is a particularly resonant issue, as our kids already live with a physical vulnerability.

Food allergic children aren’t “blessed” with the childhood delusion of believing they are invincible, which most children get to enjoy. Living with fears of anaphylaxis, our kids already walk around with a sense of fragility to their health (even if they don’t express it!) such that many of them have amplified fears to other injuries and illnesses. COVID-19 of course is no exception.

So how can we parents help our children who are feeling anxious about returning to school?

1. Empathize and validate their fears and then explain the facts to them. For example, children are less likely to become infected by the virus and less likely to have a severe course if infected.

2. Help them feel a sense of control and that you have full confidence in their abilities: For example, remind them that by simply doing things you’ve been practicing at home like, keeping their distance, wearing a mask, and washing their hands, they can help to keep themselves safe. Children feed off of our confidence in them to overcome their fears.

3. Avoid leading questions like, “Are you nervous about going back to school?” Instead gently inquire, “So how are you feeling about going back to school?”

4. Don’t be nervous in front of your children; model your strength for them. #YouveGotThis

Dr. Abby Herzig

Dr. Abby Herzig developed her career around the drive to understand and help children in need. After receiving her doctorate degree in clinical psychology, she continued to study child development and parent-child mental health at NYU Medical Center and Columbia University. An extension of her work with children, Abby is actively involved with UNICEF, serving on the New York Steering committee for UNICEF’s NextGen. She has traveled to South East Asia and Africa visiting hospitals, schools, and orphanages, advising UNICEF on child development and proper interventions for children and families at risk. As a result of her global work with children, Abby was asked to join the Innovators Program at the world-renowned Sick Children’s Hospital in Toronto. Driven by her passion to help children, and a parent of a child with life-threatening food allergies, Abby was inspired to create Belay and find solutions for the unmet needs of children and families affected by the food-allergy epidemic.
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