Health officials offer tips for parents, students to help with back to school anxiety

Published: Jul. 21, 2021 at 5:46 AM EDT
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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - The countdown is on as the Savannah-Chatham County Public School System begins a new school year just two weeks from Wednesday.

This is the first time the district will be in-person five days a week for all students since March of 2019. This is definitely a moment families have been waiting for but it could be a bit of an adjustment.

Memorial Health Behavioral Health Manager Mary Jo Horton says the first thing parents should do is ask themselves about their own stress and anxiety levels when it comes to sending their kids back to school. She says the more you display in front of the kids, the more anxious they might feel.

For kids, they are adjusting to new social skills this school year and they will stumble. Horton says parents should go ahead and start the conversation today about how they feel. And once they go back, continue to check in with them to make sure they are feeling alright about the transition.

“We know that during the pandemic we have had an increase in mental health symptoms, suicide risk, eating disorders, all of these things, including with children. So, seeing a change in mood, activity, energy level to a point where you know that is not how your child normally is, we want to intervene early and often,” Horton said.

Health professionals recommend taking time this week to get back into your school routine. Whatever you would do the night before the first day, get started now. For example - lay out clothes, get meals ready and go to bed a little earlier. They advise pretending the first school day is tomorrow and practicing your new routine with the whole family.

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