Some kids love going back to school after a long summer vacation. For others, the idea of returning to school brings a rush of anxiety and fear. No matter what their outlook is, it’s important to keep an eye on the mental health of every child when a new school year starts. Mental health is just as important for your child as their physical health.
Are you worried about your child’s mental health as school starts back up Silver Spring & Kensington, MD? Call us today at 800-417-1164 to talk with a medical professional!
Back-to-School Mental Health
A new school year brings new friendships, new classrooms, new experiences, and a lot of new feelings. However, when the first day of school means a transition to middle or high school, or to a new school because of a move, a child’s worries can pile up. Some children adapt with relative ease, while others may need extra reassurance or additional help. It’s important to pay close attention to your child and identify what may be causing their excessive nerves.
Common worries that kids have about going back to school include:
- The increased amount of homework in the next grade
- The increased difficulty of schoolwork in the next grade
- Being in a class without close friends
- Fear for a strict teacher
- The increased amount or difficulty of standardized tests
- How middle school will be different than elementary school
- How high school will be different than middle school
- Possible bullying
These examples are general. Your child may have concerns about specific teachers, friends, or incidents—for instance, if a friendship has broken up over the summer, a child may be unsure how to navigate the changed social landscape when school starts. The same concern will likely arise if a move has occurred over the summer.
How to Help Calm Back-to-School Anxieties
While it’s important to pay attention to your child’s demeanor and watch for signs of worry or more serious mental health issues, it’s also critical to not place undue emphasis on anxiety. For example:
- Instead of asking “Are you anxious about homework?” or “Are you worried about not being friends with Jane anymore?” try to ask more open-ended questions that invite discussion. For example: “How are you feeling about school starting? Have you thought much about it?”
- While you don’t need to act overly animated, it’s important to be positive and enthusiastic about the upcoming changes. “Wow, seventh grade! I can’t believe it. You’re going to do great. What are you looking forward to?”
- If your child expresses anxiety, assure him or her that these feelings are totally normal and that most of their fellow students are likely going through the same thing. Express confidence in your child’s ability to overcome any social or academic obstacles they may see as insurmountable.
- Talk about positive ways to deal with feelings of anxiety or fear. Reassure your child that you are there for them if they need to talk. Alternately, or additionally, they can also seek out their school counselor for help dealing with specific problems.
Your child should know that they don’t have to let their anxieties or other issues weigh them down—there is always help available.
Choose Fast Track to Help with Your Child’s Mental Health
If you notice extreme or unusual changes in your child’s behavior, demeanor, school performance, or other areas, seek help as soon as possible. At Fast Track Urgent Care, our medical professionals can provide more specific and customized solutions for the mental health issues your child might be facing. If you do notice heightened fear or anxiety when your child is preparing to start a new school year, you should:
- Call your family doctor for a recommendation.
- Get mental health resources, including ways to connect with providers, from Mental Health America.
- Browse the resources available from the Mental Health Association of Montgomery County.
You and your child are not alone. You can always stop by one of our MD walk-in clinics in Silver Spring and Kensington to speak with one of our board-certified clinicians. Here’s to a successful school year—and a bright and happy future!
Contact Fast Track Urgent Care online or call us at 800-417-1164 today to learn more about back-to-school mental health in Montgomery, Maryland.