It's back to school time! And this year, going back to school is going to require schools and families working together even more than ever before. Since kids will be enduring lots of change in rules and behaviors, it can be especially important for families to be encouraging healthy behaviors at home.
Assess your own thoughts and feelings about going back and look at how you are communicating these to your child. They need to know that you are confident about the plans, so they can be confident too.
Here’s a checklist to help ensure your child’s experience in transitioning back to school is a positive one.
Mental Health and Emotional Well-Being Checklist for Going Back to School:
☐ Talk about how school will look different (i.e. desks/chairs far apart from each other,
teachers wearing masks and maintaining physical distance, lunch room plans, etc.)
☐ Check to see if your school has a plan to help students adjust when going back to school.
Students may need assistance in adjusting to the disruptions of COVID-19 on their life.
☐ Check if your school will provide training for students in coping skills for stress and
anxiety. If not, consider asking for ways to add this to your child’s at-home learning.
☐ Check if your school has any systems in place to identify and provide mental health
services to student in need of support. If so, ask for a point of contact.
☐ Ask your school about plans to reduce potential stigmas related to having or being
suspecting of having COVID-19.
☐ Anticipate behavior changes in your child. Watch for excessive changes like crying,
irritation, worry, sadness, unhealthy eating or sleeping, or difficulty concentrating. These
could be signs your child is struggling with stress and anxiety.
☐ Try to attend school activities or meetings. Whether in an in-person or a virtual format,
they will help you to stay informed and give you connection to reduce your own feelings
of anxiety. School meetings can provide a way for you to express concerns you may have
about your child’s school.
☐ Talk with your child about how school is going and about how they are interacting with
classmates and teachers. Find out how your child is feeling and give them a sense of
normalcy about their feelings.
☐ Be a role model for your child by practicing your own self-care:
Get plenty of sleep
Stay socially connected
And as always, I'm here with you and for you! If you are struggling with the thought of your child going back to school or are having a hard time handling the feelings that are bubbling up, reach out! Let's walk through this together! You are definitely not alone!