Summer vacation is winding down and everyone is in “back-to-school” mode. While students prepare to begin a new school year, they are finishing their summer reading, buying their pencils, paper, backpacks and other supplies, and thinking about what the new grade will bring.
But, do we ever stop and think about our students’ mental health wellbeing?
For many parents, mental health wellbeing doesn’t really come up unless there is a problem. In order to have happy, healthy children at school this year, I’d like to suggest we include checking their emotional wellbeing, too. How? Well, parents should pause and take a quick assessment by asking themselves:
Does my child have someone at school to sit with at lunch or on the playground, or are they alone?
Am I listening carefully if he/she reports not feeling safe, or feeling bullied?
Does my child struggle too much with organization and assignments?
Is my child isolating too much?
Does my child appear unhappy or not have any interests or activities?
As parents, it is important we take seriously comments from our child that they are not happy or are not fitting in at school. It is not unusual for a child to suffer for a year with issues affecting their emotional wellbeing before we address them, reach out to teachers/schools, and even get them in to see a professional.
Let’s make this school year a year in which we are more aware and quick to act if we see warning signs in our children that they are struggling with emotional issues. A consult with the pediatrician or with a therapist will get you on the right path to addressing – and ultimately resolving – any mental health wellbeing concerns.
— Kathy Miller, Owner