The back-to-school season is here. It’s time to start thinking about all the things that come with a new school year, which is stressful. One crucial thing to consider is the mental health of your child. Stress and anxiety are components that many children deal with at the beginning of the school year and throughout. Factors causing this stress stem from things going on in the world to stress about how they will fit in with their classmates.
Mental health affects your child’s learning and development. It is just as important as your child’s physical health. Whether your child has anxiety in 6 year-old symptoms or is displaying other issues with emotional well-being, there are steps you can take to help protect your child’s mental health to help ensure success.
Recognize Emotional Well-Being
There are skills and behavior signs of emotional and social health that your child shows early in life. Some of these skills and behaviors are listed below.
- Ability to communicate wishes and desires
- Capable of following directions
- Demonstrate good listening skills
- Aware of and can label and manage emotions
- Exhibit empathy for others
- Can compromise and negotiate with others
- Hold close relationships with peers and caregivers
You can support your child’s mental health to help promote a successful school year.
Have Open Conversations
Communication between parents and children is crucial. Setting expectations and consequences for the school year can go a long way in setting the stage for a smooth school year. Discuss expectations for chores, school performance, curfews, technology and even behavior. Let your child be part of the decision process when setting consequences. Your child can help with the process regardless of age.
When anxiety is involved, try role-playing activities to help your child prepare. Go to the school with your child so they can have some level of comfort prior to the school year starting. Reach out to teachers and discuss your child and their anxiety with respect to starting the year. They can help your child feel transition better. There are options like over the counter children’s anxiety meds that can help when needed.
Every child has strengths, and those strengths should be celebrated, particularly for a child that needs help with mental health. Find one or more areas where your child excels and honor those. Provide sources to cultivate that strength. For example, if your child has a natural artistic ability, set up an extracurricular art class where he or she can build on this skill. Encourage your child to join an art club if available at school. Do you see an ability in the theater? Sign up for acting classes and suggest that your child join the drama club at school.
Today, there are so many resources available to to help your child. You may need over the counter anxiety medication, or you may need additional options to help. Research your options for your situation and get the help you need so your child can be successful now and later in life.