Back to School: Mental Health Tips for a Successful Year
A new school year should bring lots of excitement and fun for your child. Unfortunately, many times this excitement is replaced with fear, anxiety, and even depression. FamilyMeans Counseling & Therapy encourages parents to follow these 10 mental health tips to help your child have a safe and productive school year.
- Establish a routine: a consistent, regimented schedule helps to provide structure. Early bedtimes will make for a more restful night’s sleep.
- Electronic Free Communication: set aside time to talk to your child without electronics distracting the conversation. Discuss concerns about the school year and what they are looking forward to.
- Monitor Social Media: set clear social media expectations such as open accounts and facilitate conversation surrounding what your child is seeing on social media and how it makes them feel.
- Foster Positive Relationships: many youth worry about friendships or loneliness. Encourage them to reconnect with a friend before school starts and make plans to sit with each other on the first day back.
- Create Homework Strategies: for many, a lot of stress comes from completing homework. Create a plan to complete assignments on time and incorporate homework help into your family’s daily schedule. Check in with teachers regularly to be sure your child is staying on task.
- Stay healthy: be sure to encourage your child to stay healthy by washing hands, eating nutritious foods, and getting lots of sleep. Plan meals and snacks ahead of time so you aren’t tempted to grab the quick, easy and unhealthy options.
- Validate fears/anxiety and work on ways to overcome: if your child has fear of starting a new school year be sure to validate those fears by acknowledging that starting something new can be hard but will become easier each day. Attend back to school orientations and allow your child to get comfortable in new setting.
- Mistakes are okay: many times students feel that they cannot mess up or fail. Discuss that failing is part of life, mistakes are bound to happen and that together you will move forward and learn from this mistake.
- Make things “talkable” at home: create an environment where your kids feel they can bring up thoughts or feelings with which they struggle. The more comfortable they feel bringing up smaller things then the more comfortable they will be to bring up bigger things as they get older.
- Have fun: back to school can be stressful for everyone in the family. Make sure to have fun and do things that are enjoyable for everyone. Practice taking turns to pick a family activity in the evening or on weekends.
Visit FamilyMeans.org or call 651-439-4840 to learn more about Counseling & Therapy services available to help support your child and family through the coming school year.