CLEVELAND, Ohio — Whether your child will be in the classroom or learning remotely in the fall, back to school will look different this year.

When talking to your kids about what's to come, Cleveland Clinic Psychologist Dr. Susan Albers said it's all about communication.

What You Need To Know

  • Dr. Albers said kids need two things right now: emotional support and direct communication

  • Ask your kids questions to find what’s worrying them about the upcoming school year

  • Teach your kids about flexibility and go over potential scenarios with them

“It is a tough time to be a parent today," Albers said. "You are like a pilot navigating kids through this rocky, turbulent time of uncharted territory.”

Albers said children need two things right now: emotional support and direct communication, meaning parents need to be really clear about what is happening.

“It's helpful to gather that information from the school about what's going to be happening, and walking them through an imaginary day of some of the things that they encounter that are going to look different this year, and that way they are really prepared," Albers said.

Start by asking your children these two questions: “First, what do they want to know about the upcoming school year? What is on their mind? And the second is what worries them? Talking about those two things are going to really help to give you some clarity about how your child is feeling and what areas you need to cover with them,” Albers said.

Albers said it's important to teach your student about flexibility and walk them through different scenarios that may occur.

“Also, not making them any promises. It's so tempting as a parent right now to reassure them about how things are going to go, but we don't know. And kids are crushed when we don't follow through with our promises," Albers said.