Every Fall and Spring when the new academic term begins, parents scramble to make sure their children are ready for the new year: new uniforms, books, supplies, bags, and other items that will help their children succeed. What is sometimes missed in the bustle to prepare ourselves and our children is that we need to take stock of our mental wellness. We ensure that regular dental and medical appointments are made as precautions for caries and illness, but we rarely do a mental well being check to ensure that your child is adjusting to their school setting. Ask yourself:
Is your child looking forward to starting a new school year?
Does your child have friends?
Does your child show interest in going to school?
Is your child fearful of other students?
Does your child recognize his/her strengths?
Does your child have good study habits?
Does your child have a positive learning mindset?
Does your child have hobbies?
Does your child practice good hygiene?
Does your child sleep well?
Does your child have good eating habits?
Is your child’s mood positive?
If you answered no to one or more of the above, it might be a good idea to talk with your child’s school counselor or advisor, and/or check out available mental health resources in the community. A child’s maximum academic potential can be reached when all aspects of their health are considered.
The mental health consequences of COVID have been immense for children and families. Worldwide, anxiety, loneliness and depression have been major mental health concerns. To counter the adverse effects of these concerns, parents and school personnel need to be diligent in looking out for signs of distress in our children so that appropriate interventions can be made. Taking care of a child’s total health and wellness means that we address their holistic well being that includes their mental and emotional health, alongside other health dimensions such as physical and spiritual health. If you have questions on whether your child may be experiencing mental health challenges, please seek out your family doctor, school counselor, or mental health professional.