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Children's Mental Health for Back to School

Military Back to School

It’s almost time for Back to School. This September promises to be extra challenging for many children, due to Covid-19 and the added uncertainty of whether to allow children back into the classrooms, continue with virtual learning from home, or go with a hybrid set-up. We know that either of these scenarios will present their own unique challenges to families. While this important decision is being made, we want to help you also prioritize your children’s mental health in whatever decision you make.

This year, fears of getting sick, school safety protocols for COVID-19, or heightened tensions around racism may make the transition back to school even more difficult. Also, concerns about transitioning back to school will be different depending on the age of a child.

The Steven A. Cohen Military Family Clinic at Easterseals believes no matter the age of your child, or the back to school scenario they will be facing, the best thing you can do to help your child's mental health as they are back to schooling this year is to start having conversations, early and often.

Other tips for helping your children better manage their stress and anxiety about going back to school are:

  • Be open and admit there are a lot of unknowns, but together you’ll be able to get through it;
  • Remind your children that they can always talk to you about any uncertainties;
  • Allow children to share their feelings about any kind of nervousness;
  • Allow children to discuss possible alternatives or different options;
  • Model appropriate coping skills for children by showing them how to respond to stress in healthy ways;
  • Demystify some of the procedures that may be in place in schools such as mask-wearing and temperature checks by talking about them and practicing them at home;
  • For children, continuing with virtual learning, ensure they stay active because physical activity can really decrease stress. 
  • Check out Top 50 Mindful Resource for Children and Teens by Big Life Journal;
  • Maintain healthy habits such as getting enough sleep, eating a balanced diet and having a regular routine;
  • For children heading back to school, stay in close contact with teachers to get alerts on any change of behaviors.

Of course, as parents you know your children best about whether they may be exhibiting any change in behavior that could be resulting from stress and anxiety. 

To see what possible signs of stress and anxiety could look like for children, check out this guide by the Children’s Health Fund.

For more resources, on children’s mental health, check out the information on ChildrensMentalHealthMatters.orgOnOurSleeves.org, and the National Institute of Mental Health.

If you are in need of our services for more in depth help in supporting your child through stress, anxiety and possible depression, please call our office to schedule an appointment at 240-847-7500.

On Thursdays from 3:30 to 4:30 pm, we offer Cohen Clinic Virtual Office Hours, so you can connect with us about our services.

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