Clifton Park therapist speaks about preparing children for mask-free schools

Students wear masks every day in school. For some young children, it’s really all they’ve ever known.

Going mask-free will certainly be a welcome change for some, but for others, it might take some getting used to, or cause anxiety.

"More likely it would be with children who already have maybe some general anxiety around COVID, or maybe they have some family members in their home who are at a higher risk, and they know this, so maybe they’re worried about not getting somebody else sick," said Vanessa Bever of Capital District Marriage and Family Therapy.

Bever is a NYS licensed marriage and family therapist in Clifton Park.

"I think first and foremost, it’s important to help children validate their emotions, your emotions are real and that they’re valid, and they’re here for a reason, and really it makes sense," she said. "There’s a good explanation why you might have some worry because we’ve been telling you for a couple years that this was an important feature in keeping everybody safe."

The pandemic has thrust a lot of changes on children, with social distancing and remote learning. Bever suggests talking to children now about mask changes in the works.

"So we’re not kind of waiting until the night before to give a child this information," she said. "The more preparation you can give them, the more information we have, the better. Modeling it for them, knowing if there are safe places where you already exist without a mask that you deemed, letting them know and kind of pointing to those as good examples of places that they’ve been able to be healthy and also not have that level of protection."