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Back to school mental health checklist

Parents keeping track of the summer days will realize that school resumes in just over two weeks.

Educators say getting ready to head back to school can be exciting, but comes with stress and anxiety for children and parents. They are sharing some tips to help everyone get prepared.

  • Get back into a routine. About 1-2 weeks before school starts, gradually (15 minutes each day) move your child’s bedtime and wake up time back to what they will be during the school year.
  • Visit health care professionals. Visit doctors, dentists, and optometrists. Make sure everything is up to date!
  • Show your support.
    Show your children that you care and are interested in what they are learning at school, and how the new routines and regulations feel. Encourage them and support them with specific praise rather than general compliments. This will show your children that you appreciate the effort they make at school, and that their work is valued.
  • Plan healthy meals & snacks. Involve your child in the process so they learn how to make healthy food choices. Brainstorm family dinner ideas, or fun lunch options. Your children can help plan, prepare and pack those lunches!
  • Listen to what they are saying. Have an open conversation about what is worrying your children and let them know that it’s natural to feel anxious. Try to listen without immediately offering opinions or advice.
  • Prepare for changes. Review what’s different from last year. Is your child going to a new school?  Does your child have a new bus stop? Be proactive. Walk to the new bus stop, play on the school playground, come for a visit when schools open, or call to set up a time to meet with members of your school team.
  • Organize yourself. Get a calendar and then print and post school and extracurricular activities so you don’t miss any important dates. All of our schools have online calendars on their websites with information about upcoming school activities.
  • Celebrate summer. Have a good time with your family. Plan a few final family activities. Have a board game night, make smores, go for a swim in one of our beautiful local lakes or pools. Go see that movie you didn’t have time to see this summer, take a family bike ride or visit a local attraction like a park or museum. Be together.
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