LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) — Heading back to school can be stressful for kids, especially if the previous year was challenging for them.
Here are some details about how parents can address those concerns.
Fifth grader Sophia Schmidt has been dealing with anxiety since she was in kindergarten. Her mother, Megan Schmidt, says it started affecting her behaviors.
“Retreating from activities that she’s always loved to do; wanting to stay closer to myself; my husband and be around the family,” Megan Schmidt said.
They say therapy helped address it but once the pandemic hit, Sophia’s fear of getting sick made it difficult for her to return to school. Even now, she feels anxious starting a new school year.
Sophia says things that make her nervous about the forthcoming school year include “meeting new people” and wondering whether her new teacher will be nice.
According to a new survey, 71% of parents say something made the previous school year challenging for their child.
“Parents identified safety concerns, academics, bullying and mental health concerns, as well as social connection as the top concerns that they saw their kids struggling with over the last year,” said Whitney Raglin Bignall, associate clinical director for On Our Sleeves.
Bignall is a pediatric psychologist and an associate clinical director for a children’s mental health movement called On Our Sleeves. She says now is the time to address any concerns with your child.
“We have to start having conversations and start to see what they’re thinking and feeling how they thought last year went from their perspective.” Bignall said.
To help facilitate those discussions, On Our Sleeves has created resources for parents, which include conversation starters, which Megan and Sophia says has helped.
“I don’t always know the right questions to get to the root. Some suitable questions to ask, to try to get there has been very, very helpful,” Megan Schmidt said.
“It helps a lot, because I feel like I can get it off my mind and help me not worry,” Sophia Schmidt said.