- Returning to School: Top 10 Tips for Mental Health Success
- Transitioning back to in-person classroom learning
- Supporting your child’s mental health as they return to school during COVID-19
- How parents can help their children navigate their feelings during school reopenings
- My child is scared to go back to school. How can I help him feel at ease?
- My child’s school is recommending the wearing of protective clothing which is making my child feel more nervous. What should I say to her?
- How can I encourage my child to follow precautions (such as frequent handwashing, physical distancing, etc.) at school without alarming her?
- My child is not part of the same group as his close friends returning to school and is feeling even more isolated. How can he feel more connected to the classroom and his friends?
- How can I gently check in to see how my child is coping?
- FAQs about: mental health tips for returning to school
Is the back-to-school season making you anxious? You’re not alone! Here are key mental health tips to ensure a smoother transition back to school. Uncover essential steps to maintain mental health and well-being this season.
Quick facts: Mental Health Tips For Returning To School
- ✅ According to Mental Health America, 1 in 5 kids aged 3 to 17 have a diagnosable mental health disorder. (Mental Health America)
- ✅ The American Psychological Association reports that mental health concerns among college students have increased substantially in the last decade. (American Psychological Association)
- ✅ The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) found that young adults aged 18 to 25 are more likely to experience mental health issues than any other age group. (National Institute of Mental Health)
- ✅ According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), suicide is the second leading cause of death for people ages 15-24. (National Alliance on Mental Illness)
- ✅ The Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA) reports that anxiety disorders are the most common mental health disorder among college students. (Anxiety and Depression Association of America)
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Returning to School: Top 10 Tips for Mental Health Success
Returning to school after a break can be a difficult transition. It’s important that you take the time to prepare and set yourself up for success in the coming term. Here are 10 essential tips to help you ease your transition back to school and ensure healthy mental health:
- Give yourself plenty of time to transition back into the school routine – Allow yourself extra time each morning or evening to adjust back into a regular schedule.
- Create a daily or weekly schedule – Having a plan helps you keep track of responsibilities and expectations while attending school.
- Establish healthy habits such as exercise, eating well, and getting enough sleep – All of these practices help reduce stress levels, manage moods, improve concentration, and enhance overall wellbeing.
- Set realistic goals for yourself – Start small with short-term goals that can be easily accomplished within a reasonable amount of time.
- Prioritize self-care – Make sure that you are taking care of your mind as well as your body by engaging in activities such as meditation, yoga, journaling, etc., that bring joy into your life
- Develop supportive relationships with classmates/teachers/mentors- Building a supportive environment will help alleviate stress associated with challenging academic work or unfamiliar social situations
- Identify sources of stress and find ways to manage them – Identifying the source(s) of stress allows one to develop better coping strategies for addressing them while managing their mental health in return
- Ask for help if necessary – Don’t be afraid or embarrassed to reach out if you feeling overwhelmed or need extra assistance completing assignments
- Participate in extracurricular activities/clubs – Spending time outside the classroom on activities that interest you can be great way to reduce study-related stress while having fun!
- Implement relaxation techniques like deep breathing – Taking moments throughout the day (no matter how short) for mindful activities like deep breathing can provide immediate physical relief from anxiety and emotional exhaustion
Transitioning back to in-person classroom learning
Transitioning back to in-person classroom learning can be a difficult process after spending months away from physical schools, classmates and teachers. It’s important to remember that the transition won’t happen overnight – it will take time. In order to make sure that this transition can be as smooth as possible, it’s important that students and families take extra steps to ensure their mental health is taken care of throughout this process.
A few tips for making the transition back to school easier include:
- Plan ahead: To make sure everything goes as smoothly as possible when returning, it’s important to plan ahead and have conversations around expectations with school staff and family members.
- Be patient with yourself and others: Know that everyone is feeling anxious or overwhelmed during this process, so being patient with yourself and those around you is essential.
- Take your time: Transitioning back doesn’t have to happen all at once – allow yourself time to adjust at your own pace.
- Talk about it: Don’t bottle up your feelings; instead talk through them with friends, family or a mental health professional if needed.
- Maintain healthy habits: During this entire journey, it’s important for students to maintain healthy habits such as eating well, exercising regularly, and getting enough sleep every night.
Supporting your child’s mental health as they return to school during COVID-19
Returning to school after an extended period of learning at home can be an exciting but overwhelming experience for children, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic. To ensure that your child’s mental health is supported during this transition, there are several tips parents should focus on.
- Talk to your child about their feelings as they prepare to return to school. It is important that they understand that it is okay to feel scared or anxious and to discuss any worries they may have.
- Create a consistent routine before your child returns so that they are better able to adjust when classes start up again. Establish a set bedtime and time for studying each day so that your child will be prepared for their classes and not overwhelmed by the new structure.
- Encourage social interaction with friends by setting up Zoom calls or other online activities prior to attending classes in person. Staying connected with peers helps children feel less alone during this difficult time and can also prevent them from feeling too isolated as they transition back to being back in school buildings.
During times of change, such as the transition back to school amidst the Covid-19 pandemic, parents can play a fundamental role in helping their children navigate their feelings. It is important to create a safe space where children can express their feelings and talk openly about the changes going on around them. Parents can encourage children to get into a routine by setting aside specific times for studying, playing and conversation.
Creating supportive connections with peers and mentors is also an essential part of managing stress during this time. Parents can provide positive reinforcement for healthy connections with peers and mentors within the school community – taking part in remote clubs or student council meetings, for example – to help build confidence and social-emotional skills.
Finally, parents should be mindful of maintaining an open line of communication with their children throughout this process. Being responsive to questions or concerns your child may have is key in creating a trusting relationship that empowers them through difficult transitions. By normalizing communication around difficult topics such as anxiety or school jitters, parents will be providing an important stepping stone in the self-regulation process that will serve their child well during these uncertain times.
My child is scared to go back to school. How can I help him feel at ease?
Going back to school can be an exciting and overwhelming experience for children. It’s important to understand that it is normal for children to feel scared or anxious about returning to school. In order to help your child feel more at ease, it is critical that you create an environment of safety and support.
Start by allowing your child to express their feelings without judgment. Ask open-ended questions that will help you better understand how they are feeling and why they might be scared of going back. Acknowledge their concerns and try not to put too much pressure on them by suggesting things they could do differently. Instead, focus on positive statements such as “it’s okay to feel scared” or “I’m here for you no matter what”.
Encourage your child to talk about the situation with someone who understands them and provide them with appropriate coping skills like:
- writing down their thoughts
- going for a walk when they are feeling overwhelmed
Additionally, remind your child that there will always be uncertainties while navigating a new year or grade but that it is possible to manage these uncertainties with resilience. Finally, setting realistic expectations can help your child feel more prepared as they go back into the classroom!
My child’s school is recommending the wearing of protective clothing which is making my child feel more nervous. What should I say to her?
It can be difficult for children to adjust to the idea that protective clothing is necessary when returning to school. To help your child feel more comfortable, talk with them openly about the safety measures in place and explain why wearing protective clothing is important.
It may also be helpful to discuss the different ways they can express their feelings, such as expressing their worries through writing or drawing instead of relying on verbal communication.
Additionally, encourage them to practice healthy coping mechanisms such as deep breathing and mindfulness activities that can help reduce stress and anxiety.
Lastly, remind them that they are not alone in this transition back to school – there are other students who may be feeling the same way.
How can I encourage my child to follow precautions (such as frequent handwashing, physical distancing, etc.) at school without alarming her?
As children adjust to the new school year, it is important to help them make the transition in a way that encourages them while also keeping their safety and mental health in mind. As a parent, one of the best ways to do this is by modeling safe behaviors and maintaining open communication with your child.
Start by talking about the importance of following precautionary measures such as frequent handwashing, physical distancing, and wearing masks. Explain why these precautions are necessary for everyone’s safety and well-being. Make sure your message is age appropriate; use simple language that your child can understand without being too alarmist.
Encourage your child to practice proper hygiene at school – remind her that everyone has an important role in preventing illnesses from spreading. Show her how easy it can be to wash hands frequently with soap for at least 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol when soap and water are not readily available. Explain the importance of physical distancing by talking about how far apart people should stand when talking or standing in line, or even sitting during lunch time. Encourage her to wear a face covering while indoors and outdoors if possible. By doing so, you will help empower her to take ownership over her well-being while also reassuring her of your support system at home.
My child is not part of the same group as his close friends returning to school and is feeling even more isolated. How can he feel more connected to the classroom and his friends?
It is normal for some children to feel more isolated and disconnected when they don’t have the same group of friends as they did before returning to school. To help your child feel more connected and like they are a part of the classroom, it may be helpful to talk to them about their feelings, reach out to their teachers and classmates, encourage them to join virtual classrooms or clubs, and give them an opportunity to stay in touch with their friends outside of school.
You can also encourage your child to stay connected with their peers by creating a sense of community. This can be done by setting up virtual hangout sessions or small group chats where your child can talk about common interests or hobbies with their friends. Additionally, you can help foster a sense of belonging in your own home by creating activities such as movie nights or puzzles that involve the whole family.
Finally, help your child find areas where he feels part of and connected – such as sports teams or extracurriculars – so that he’ll feel more secure at school.
How can I gently check in to see how my child is coping?
As parents, it’s natural to be concerned about our children’s well-being and mental health during times of transition or uncertainty. Checking in with your child to see how they are coping with the transition back to school may require some gentle questioning to ensure that your child can share their feelings openly.
It is important for parents to listen without judgement, validate their child’s feelings, and provide reassurance. Creating a safe space by using open-ended questions can help to build trust and understanding such as “How are you feeling about going back to school?” or “Do you have any worries about going back?” By creating a listening environment, it provides an opportunity for the child or teen to talk openly and express their thoughts.
Finally, it is important for caregivers to acknowledge that this process has been hard on everyone and provide positive reinforcement when possible – focus on what they have accomplished which helps create a sense of accomplishment and empowers them as they transition back into school life.
FAQs about: mental health tips for returning to school
Q: What is the most important piece of advice for returning to school after taking a break for mental health?
A: The most important piece of advice for returning to school after taking a break for mental health is to take it slow. Start with a few classes or a part-time job, and gradually build up to a full workload. Pace yourself so that you don’t become overwhelmed and don’t hesitate to reach out for support from friends, family, and mental health professionals.
Q: How can I make sure I’m setting realistic goals for myself when returning to school?
A: Setting realistic goals is an important step for returning to school after taking a break for mental health. Start by setting short-term goals that are achievable and don’t put too much pressure on yourself. Celebrate your successes and make sure that you are not pushing yourself too hard. If the goals you set become too difficult, take a step back and reassess.
Q: What should I do if I start to feel overwhelmed while returning to school?
A: If you start to feel overwhelmed while returning to school, it is important to take a step back and reassess. Make sure you are taking care of yourself by getting enough rest, staying active, and eating healthy. Reach out to family and friends for support, and don’t be afraid to seek professional help if needed.