How to Make Sure Your Child is Mentally (and Physically) Prepared for Back to School

As a number of Pandemic-era Back-to-School seasons have come and gone, concerns over the mental, social, and physical development of kids continue to be on parents’ minds. It’s a time of year that’s exciting as it is nerve-wracking for kids and teens — so it totally makes sense that your kids may still be feeling some anxiety around getting back into their school year routines. 

Ammari Amani Edwards, LMSW at Chamin Ajjan Psychotherapy, says trends around bullying, and a lack of acceptance around minority identity statuses (such as race, poverty, or sexual orientation) are also causes for concern for teens when going back to school. 

“These issues are bringing to the surface issues students may not have had to experience so intensely while online learning and quarantining from the comfort of home,” she says. “These students may be experiencing symptoms of social anxiety, generalized anxiety or depression as a result, and need loved ones, friends, and authority figures such as teachers and mentors to provide compassion around their valid and very normal concerns.”

Dr. Sanam Hafeez, NYC Neuropsychologist Faculty Member at Columbia University, tells SheKnows that it’s important to recognize that there are still some challenges related to living through a (still on-going) pandemic that can contribute to heightened anxiety for kids returning to school.

There was no preparation for what they experienced. For some, it was more challenging than others, and the ways in which it challenged kids and teens were not always identical,” Dr. Hafeez says. “Some children may have residual PTSD, and others may have become more anxious as a result. Parents need to be extra patient, supportive, in tune with their children’s scholastic and social experiences, sleeping, eating, and other markers that indicate positive or negative mental health.” 

Below, some tips on how you can best help your kid prepare mentally and emotionally to go back to school.

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