School parades can be good for children's mental health during COVID-19 pandemic, experts say

Posted at 4:45 PM, May 20, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-20 19:05:25-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — School districts around the metro are saying goodbye to their students for the summer with parades.

"I missed them, seeing them over the computer is just not the same," student Luci Siler said.

"My son didn't particularly want to do it, but was glad that he did," said Lindsay Pendleton, whose son goes to the middle school.

Teachers waved to their students outside of the school while parents drove by with their kids in the car, in what they called a parade.

But, it was more than just a parade. Mental health professionals said it gives a healthy dose of hope for student's during a strange time.

"Our children need a tangible reminder of that you still have people that care about you, school still exists, we are not going to live like this forever," said Angie Winkler, clinical liaison at Signature Psychiatric Hospital.

Winkler said marking a milestone can help kids in times of transition.

"We don't realize how important it is to really mark a milestone. Transitions are hard and being able to really acknowledge something is ending and there is a new beginning — it's really important for our kids," Winkler said.

Laura Mulchy, a parent of three, recently took her kids to their school parade a few weeks ago.

She said at first, the event was emotional.

"Sad they didn't get go out and hug them or hang out with their friends after," Mulchy said.

It soon became the highlight of their day.

"My daughter was so excited. She even looked at me and said I am so glad I got to say goodbye to my teacher," Mulchy said.

Professionals want parents to take advantage of something that can have a long-lasting effect.

"I think there is so many benefits so much more so to our kids to have these opportunities," Winkler said.

Schools in the Smithville School District planned parades this week, including Horizon and Maple elementaries and Smithville Middle School.