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Expert shares insights on how to talk to your child about returning to school during pandemic

Willow Center Executive Director Erin Wiley says children need to know that this is life is like and we just have to roll with the punches.

TOLEDO, Ohio — With your children returning to school in just a few weeks, now is the time to start mentally preparing them for the new year. 

Licensed clinical counselor Erin Wiley says keeping an open dialogue can make a better transition for children while there are so many unanswered questions during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

"Certainly different than anything we've ever done before and I think we have a lot of people with a lot of big emotions about it, as we should. it's confusing and it's not at all what anyone would have expected or hoped for," Wiley said. 

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Wiley is the executive at the Willow Center in Toledo. She's also a mother of two boys and can relate to why parents are struggling to prepare their children for back to school. 

She says you must learn to regulate your emotions in front of your kids. 

"Kids pick up from us that it's okay to scream and yell or throw things, be irate. It's much better for kids to hear their parents actually talk about how frustrated we are or even how angry we are but then presenting that in a balanced way," said Wiley. 

Routine is also key for younger kids who need structure. 

It can include going to bed and waking up at a particular time and scheduling meals and playtime. 

If there is a negative moment or experience, then you should be there for your child validating their feelings as they make their way through this uncharted territory. 

"Sometimes there'll be disappointing things in life and just being there emotionally for your kids to help them process and listen to what they have to say, it is the most important thing," Wiley said. 

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