August 9, 2022
August is the month of back-to-school preparation for many families. It’s a big transition, and changes like these can often create feelings of anxiety, stress, and unease.
What are some things parents can do to support their children’s back-to-school anxiety? Our School-Linked Mental Health Services team offered a few suggestions for families in preparation for this big transition.
- Normalize the fact that this is a life transition, and changes like this can commonly be stressful. If your child feels like their fears are validated, they are one step closer to confronting and conquering difficult emotions. They will be grateful for your support as they navigate the change.
- If you want to instill confidence in your children, they need to see you being confident. Model it for them, and they’ll likely follow suit with a little encouragement. This also goes for pushing back and creating personal boundaries for yourself when you feel overwhelmed or stressed.
- Give your children the opportunity to express their feelings out loud. Validate and listen to them.
- If their school offers it, take advantage of back-to-school nights to familiarize them with the school building and staff before the first day. This reduces anxiety about the unknown and leaves them feeling more prepared.
- Build opportunities into their week for self-care and relaxation, especially at the beginning of the year. They’ll need time to process and adjust themselves to the change – from a summer schedule to a jam-packed school year!
There are professional resources available to children struggling with mental health during this time. People Incorporated’s School-Linked Mental Health Services reach children in their everyday school environments to offer intervention, care coordination, and even on-site therapy. This service makes mental health care accessible to busy families in a non-stigmatizing location. School Linked services are available in 25 schools in four districts: Robbinsdale, Osseo, Anoka-Hennepin, and Intermediate District 287.
“Our goal is to give kids support before they hit crisis mode. That early intervention is crucial to what we do,” said Meghan Cain-Moss, Program Manager of People Incorporated’s School-Based program.
In-school resources available today weren’t necessarily offered a few decades ago, and mental health has a more permanent place in schools. You can take plenty of actions at home and in school to ensure that your child has the tools, support, and mindset to return to school this fall with confidence.
“The ultimate goal of our programs is to transform back-to-school anxiety into back-to-school excitement,” said Bruce Cross, Program Supervisor of School-Linked’s Robbinsdale location. “This time of year should be exciting, and children should be able to look forward to a year of new and positive changes.”
To read more tips and information from our School-Based and School-Linked teams, you can read past issues of their monthly newsletter that offer a glimpse into current events, illustrate what children face in schools day-to-day, and bridge parents to further resources. All of us at People Incorporated wish you a happy, safe, and healthy start to the school year.