SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – As children get ready to return to the classroom, the experience can be a bit nerve-wracking.

22News spoke with several students Monday and almost all of them described their feelings as “nervous but excited.” While anxiety on the first day isn’t uncommon, there are some steps you can take to help prevent it.

Doctor Barry Sarvet is a child psychiatrist and the chair of the Department of Psychiatry at Baystate Health.
He said children can have a lot on their minds lately, whether it’s the recent Uvalde school shooting or COVID.

Iliana Rubet is a junior from Springfield. She told 22News, “It’s really difficult because you don’t want to catch it but also we’re also kind of struggling with everyone kind of freaking out about it in school. But it makes it easier when we have friends obviously, because you have somebody to talk to and you’re not really lonely about it.”

And talking is an important step. Dr. Sarvet recommends asking your child general questions about how they’re feeling about returning to school. That can help open the conversation to talk about worries or excitements with going into class. It can be helpful for parents to encourage them to express feelings or offer support.

He added it’s also good to underscore to your child that people inside the school like teachers and principals are committed to keeping them safe.