EARLY YEARS: Parents need to check in with kids to make sure they’re emotionally ready for Back-to-School

Students need to take advantage of mental health resources at school, if they're feeling excessively anxious or overwhelmed
Published: Aug. 4, 2021 at 6:47 AM EDT
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - Back-to-school still seems a bit different this year.

With the ongoing concerns about COVID, it’s no wonder kids might be a bit nervous.

“Do kids go back in and hug each other? Do kids go back in and like, fist bump each other? Do you ask your friend, are you vaccinated or not?” questions licensed professional counselor Decca Knight.

Knight says the changes in school structure from last year can also impact a child’s friendships.

“So, you have to come in and re-establish some of those relationships. Figure out where you are socially. Am I going to be sitting with the same people in the cafeteria that I was a year and a half, two years ago?”

But lingering uncertainty about school can also create what Knight calls “healthy stress,” along with opportunities to build resilience.

“All of this stuff has been really negative in some ways for our mental health; it has also taught us how to be more flexible. As parents and, hopefully, as kids, as well,” says Knight.

Parents can also help with the more typical back-to-school stress, like transitioning to a new school.

“You call the school. You tell them that maybe your child is feeling a little overwhelmed or a little anxious about coming into a new place, and ask them if you can come in earlier,” says Knight.

Most of all, Knight suggests parents just keep talking with their children.

“One thing I think that’s really important is that parents continue to have conversations over the dinner table with their kids and check in with them frequently,” she recommends.

For more information about handling Back-to-School anxiety, click here.

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