CHICAGO (CBS) — For thousands of parents and children, going to new schools can be stressful. CBS’s 2 Jim Williams talked to an expert who offers advice on how to get through these next few weeks.
As Megan Freeman was getting her kids ready for their new school, she used one word to describe the morning: “Dreadful.”
She is thinking about her 13-year-old son walking down potentially dangerous blocks in the Lawndale neighborhood.
“I like to see that he’s going to be safe and not get in a crossfire,” says Freeman.
Dr. Sheela Raja is a clinical psychologist who’s written extensively on trauma. She says that parents should tell children going to a new school, “It’s ok to feel a little anxious these first couple of weeks. That’s really alright and it doesn’t make you abnormal. In fact, it makes you extremely normal.”
Dr. Raja also suggests telling children that there is a plan to keep them safe and she encourages teachers to ask students who’ve been at the welcoming schools for a while to do their part.
“Have the kids take some of the responsibility for welcoming those children as well,” said Dr. Raja.
For those in other parts of the Chicago area who might think this is all being overdone and that there is too much focus on safe passages and school closings, Dr. Raja says we all should be empathetic.
“We have these communities that are dealing so much, so it’s not just of it’s easy, it’s a new school, it’s day to day nerves which we’re all dealing it’s much more than that,” said Dr. Raja.
While some so much emphasis is in student safety, there is also the academic challenge. Dr. Raja recommends parents visit the new schools often, perhaps even volunteer there. She believes that’ll help their children feel more comfortable.