As many schools in Massachusetts prepare for students returning to in-person learning next week, a local expert is giving advice on how parents can prepare their children for the return.

Dr. Heather Forkey, a pediatrician at UMass Memorial Health Care, says that 2020 has been a tough year on children. She adds that the return to school will be a new experience for them.

Parents should communicate with their children to help alleviate any fears and anxiety they might have when returning to school.​

"It's really important that we as the adults are able to transmit to them in our words and in our bodies that they can handle this,” Forkey said, “that this is not just a threat, but this is an opportunity for them to learn and grow and develop resilience skills though they're going to take it to the future."

Dr. Forkey adds that three things parents can do when preparing their kids returning to school are reassure they are safe, get kids back into a routine, and manage their feelings.