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Preparing kids' mental health to head back to school | Wear The Gown

It is time to get their minds off of playtime and back to learning.

SAN ANTONIO — Going back to school can create extra challenges for parents and students alike. In Wear The Gown, we talk to experts about limiting anxiety as families get ready to transition back to the classroom. They say talking about what kids are anxious about before that first day is so important. 

"It is so critical for them to be able to concentrate and absorb the information that is being provided, said Diane Olivo, a registered nurse with the South San Antonio ISD. She says at the district, they work to get parents and kids comfortable right from the start of the year. Olivo told us, "We have open house right from the beginning so they can share with the child the environment. The teachers kind of give their approval." 

Trey Tucker, a mental health therapist added, "Validate the thoughts and whatever the physical sensations that you're feeling. Validate those things. Because if you try to stuff them down or act like they're not there, they're really just going to get worse."

The CDC has these tips for parents:

  • Connect with other parents who have children in the same program who can make them more comfortable. 
  • Talk with teachers about the best way to separate from their child at the start of the day, such as brief goodbyes. 
  • Try to stay calm and let your child know that you wouldn't leave them if the child were not safe and protected. 
  • Remember this is a phase and building new relationships is a skill. 
  • Talk to a healthcare professional if your child's symptoms of anxiety or behavior problems are severe or persistent.

Tucker told us, "If you can put the focus on, 'How can I basically make somebody else feel welcome?' And I'm just going to assume that whoever I'm talking to is also wondering, 'Do I fit in or are people going to like me?' and I'm going to make it my mission to, or at least try to make sure that whoever I go talk to knows that they're welcome around me." Olivo added, "Know that it's not a stigma. It's something that it's okay to talk about and it's okay to have."

You can check out Tucker's TikTok channel, YouTube page, and Instagram for more information about mental health.

If you would like to see more of our Wear The Gown stories, click here.

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