School mask debates impact children’s mental health, parents say – NBC Chicago

The school mask debate has swept through Chicago-area communities in recent weeks and it can impact your child’s mental health.

NBC 5 spoke to parents on both sides of the mask debate who said their children were anxious and confused by the reactions and decisions of people who may or may not agree with them.

“I am extremely surprised and heartbroken that so many adults in our community have taken it upon themselves to bully my children,” said Kristin Christensen of Libertyville.

Kristine Schleede of Lake Bluff said her 6-year-old son wants to follow the rules.

“Over time the kids will probably feel less anxious and feel better about the situation, but I think it’s something that will stick in their memory for life,” Schleede said.

Clinical psychologist Dr Colleen Cicchetti of Lurie Children’s Hospital said there are benefits to starting a conversation with your children about the issue of masks.

“Start by asking your kids what they think, what they see, what they feel,” Cicchetti said. “Try to understand where they’re coming from, rather than putting our own adult lens on the conversation.”

Cicchetti said that because young children often look to adults for rules, it would be helpful to explain to them that “adults are trying to make the right choice.”

Registered counselor Abby Koch of Good Therapy in Naperville said it’s important to make sure the household isn’t hyper-focused on the mask issue.

“Use this as an opportunity to open up a dialogue with your kids about any topic,” Koch said.

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