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'Consider many factors': psychologist weighs in on talking to kids about changing COVID-19 protocols

Posted at 10:45 PM, Aug 24, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-25 02:27:28-04

DENVER — As students in districts across Colorado make their way back to the classroom, school leaders are tasked with adjusting mitigation strategies as COVID-19 cases increase.

Meanwhile, parents are left to rely on decisions made by district leaders that impact their children and trying to explain all of the ongoing changes.

Dr. Tracy Vozar, a psychologist specialized in working with adolescents, said parents should communicate with each of their children based on individual needs.

"Just like adults have individual differences in how well they handle stress and changes in routine, we have to remember that our children do, too," Vozar said. "Thinking about, 'OK, so my daughter is going to do well when I give her all the facts up front with how much she needs to know about what's changing, and my son tends to be a little anxious, so he needs a little less information.'"

Vozar said parents should take age into consideration when explaining changes with the pandemic and how it affects their kids.

"With a very young child, we can be more specific about mask policies. With an older child you get more questions of, 'Why? Why is it changing?'" she said. "You may be able to provide details."

Vozar said she and other psychologists across the country have experienced an increase in referrals for school-aged children with concerns or hesitancy about going back to school.

"A lot of it has been about adjusting to academics after they've been virtual learning or learning in different scenarios during the past year," she said.