LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – The first months of back to school can be nerve-wracking for kids and parents.
A recent survey reveals most parents believe their children will experience mental health challenges as they return to the classroom.
Back to school has been difficult during the pandemic. Jaelyn Ziegler was remote for kindergarten. Returning to the classroom for first grade was a big transition for her and others.
“She experienced some bullying just because some of those kids, it was their first time around other students, they kind of had been confined to their own homes a year before, and they just weren’t used to that kind of interaction,” said her mother, Erin.
Now that second grade is here, her mom says she has additional concerns.
“On top of the bullying is that their education isn’t really up to speed because it was a lot on us parents to teach them during those years. Some other concerns, like explaining to them certain emergencies during the pandemic,” Erin said.
A national survey shows that 79% of parents believe their children will face challenges back to school this fall.
The survey was conducted on behalf of the children’s mental health movement “On Our Sleeves.”
“The top three challenges the parents shared with us were safety concerns, bullying, and then just continued social difficulties because of the pandemic,” said Ariana Hoet, PhD, a pediatric psychologist at Nationwide Children’s Hospital.
She recommends families have a daily check-in.
“Even if you’re not worried, it’s just to build the habit and that relationship with your child. We have a back-to-school conversation starter. So open-ended questions for parents to ask their children about how they’re feeling what they’re nervous about,” Hoet said.