Mental Health is Primary Care
Don’t forget to talk to your child’s primary care provider during the annual checkup or you can schedule an appointment when acute concerns are present.
August 23, 2023
The back-to-school season is here, and ensuring your child's successful transition involves more than just school supplies and schedules. At Renown Children’s Hospital, and in collaboration with Nevada Pediatric Psychiatry Solutions, we understand the vital role that mental health plays in a child's overall well-being and academic performance. Below we'll guide you through essential tips for a smooth back-to-school experience, with a special focus on nurturing your child's mental health.
Remember, the below strategies can be adapted to align with your child's personality, learning style and household dynamics. Flexibility and understanding are key in tailoring these tips to suit your child's unique needs.
Recognize that effective communication is the cornerstone of understanding your child's feelings and concerns. Create a safe space where your child feels comfortable expressing their thoughts. Listen to learn, without judgment. Make it a point to validate their emotions and ensure they are heard. Encourage sharing experiences,worries, friends and challenges they may be facing. Having open conversations about sensitive topics opens the door for discussion and understanding. Make yourself available.
A consistent routine can offer a sense of stability and predictability for your child, and anticipation helps to decrease anxiety and establish a sense of control. Join forces and design a daily schedule that includes time for schoolwork, play, physical activity, meals and relaxation. Be flexible about the structure to allow room for last-minute changes including extra activities based on that day’s needs as well. Always add time for play and bonding.
Back-to-school can come with big emotions. Listening reflexively and acknowledging these feelings can help you and your child act positively on these big emotions.
Actively engage in your child's school life by participating in school events, meetings and discussions. Show interest in their educational journey, ask about their experiences and provide guidance when needed. Being present in their academic pursuits not only boosts their confidence but also strengthens the parent-child bond.
Celebrate your child's achievements, no matter how small they may seem. This allows for a sense of accomplishment and boosts self-esteem. Praise efforts, progress and perseverance, whether it's completing an assignment, making a new friend or overcoming a challenge. This positivity encourages a growth mindset and resilience.
Create a comfortable workspace at home dedicated to school-related tasks. Customize the area based on your child's preferences and needs. Having a designated space for studying and completing assignments promotes focus, reduces distractions and enhances their overall learning experience.
Understanding these signs and observing any notable changes in your child's behavior can help you address their mental health needs promptly and get help for your child if any of the below signs persist. Keep in mind that communication, empathy and professional guidance are invaluable tools in supporting your child's emotional well-being.
Keep an eye out for sudden shifts in your child's eating patterns. Significant changes, whether a loss or increase in appetite, can reflect underlying emotional distress.
Sleep disruptions like insomnia, nightmares or excessive sleeping might indicate anxiety or stress. Monitor their sleep patterns to better understand their mental state.
If your child becomes unusually clingy or reluctant to separate from you, it might suggest emotional unease.
Increased frequency and intensity of tantrums might be an outlet for emotional struggle. Think about recent changes in your child’s routine and activities.
Physical complaints like frequent headaches or stomachaches, despite no apparent medical cause, could be linked to emotional distress. Pay close attention to when these are not present during holidays or weekends, only on school days.
If your child begins withdrawing from social activities, friends or family, it might be indicative of emotional turmoil. Understanding these signs and observing any notable changes in your child's behavior can help you address their mental health needs promptly and get help for your child if any of the above signs persist. Keep in mind that communication, empathy and professional guidance are invaluable tools in supporting your child's emotional well-being.