School is back in session! But on top of the anxiety, fear, and stress that the typical back-to-school season bring, many students and families are struggling to adjust to our new pandemic "normal." Similarly, parents are grappling with how to best support their children and families. It’s important to remember that every family is navigating these challenges for the first time, but this is not forever—we will get through it!
Tips to help parents support their kids and families:
- Create structure and stick to it. It’s important that students maintain schedules and expectations. While so much in the world is unknown right now, routines help relieve everyday pressures and create tasks and activities to look forward to.
- Take a break from the news. Being informed is crucial to stay safe; however, it’s also important to set healthy boundaries around news coverage that could heighten the anxiety that they are already feeling.
- Reduce daily screen time. Because the pandemic has forced most conversations online, many fail to realize the amount of time they're spending in front of screens. Set daily limits, especially if your child is 100% virtual for school. Ensure that you have incorporated activities that don’t require digital screens into daily routines.
- Incorporate some form of exercise daily. This can range from going for a 20 minute walk, playing with your household pet, or doing another type of outdoor activity. Increasing your heart-rate for even 20 to 30 minutes a day can help release positive endorphins and reduce stress.
- Touch base with your child regularly. Effectively communicating with your child is essential. It’s difficult to know how your child is coping and how you can appropriately support them without asking. Approach topics around mental health openly, paying close attention to their comfort level and responses.
- It’s important to acknowledge that this transition is difficult. There is no one-size-fits-all guide to navigating your family’s transition back to school. Remember that you are not alone and adjusting to our collective “new normal” will take time.
While everyone is struggling with this transition, it’s also important to recognize when your child may need additional support. If you’re unsure whether your child’s mental health struggles require care that you cannot provide at home, ask for help. Initially, you can reach out to your child’s teacher or school counselor to see if they have noticed any signs or symptoms that require additional support. In addition, your primary care doctor can be a wonderful resource who can assist with a mental health screening and help determine the best next steps for supporting your child.
If you are struggling to find an appropriate resource for your child’s mental health needs, Charlie Health is here to support you. Give us a call and our team of professionals will gladly walk you through our offerings as well as help you determine what level of care is right for your child. You are not alone.