Back-to-school this year comes with its share of excitement and anxiety. Although parents eagerly welcome a slice of normalcy, we are also worried about the latest headlines and the health of our children. With so much fear-based news out there, here are some positives to consider if you have decided to send your children back to school this fall.

According to the CDC, the best available evidence indicates that COVID-19 poses relatively low risks to school-aged children. Children appear to be at lower risk for contracting COVID-19 compared to adults. To put this in perspective, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as of July 17, 2020, the United States reported that children and adolescents under 18 years old account for under 7 percent of COVID-19 cases and less than 0.1 percent of COVID-19-related deaths.

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“Schools play a critical role in supporting the whole child, not just their academic achievement. In addition to a structure for learning, schools provide a stable and secure environment for developing social skills and peer relationships,” says the CDC. In short, kids need the social and emotional interaction that school provides. It’s good for their mental and physical health.

It’s not new information that children thrive off routine. Getting back to a (somewhat) regular routine is key for a child’s development and sense of feeling grounded. “Building routines with your children helps them to feel safe”, says psychologist Dani Kaufman to Melbourne Child Psychology & School Psychology Services.

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It’s been a long five months for us all. For parents, we’ve done our best to keep our kids active and engaged, but there is only so much we can do in that department while also trying to work and maintain our own sanity. “When schools are closed, children lose access to important opportunities for physical activity.  Many children may not be sufficiently physically active outside of the context of in-school physical education (PE) and other school-based activities,” reports the CDC. Children should get 60 minutes or more of physical activity a day – something many of us parents are unable to provide with our overloaded schedules.