Back to school: A mental health checklist
With most students returning to school and lockdown restrictions being lifted around Australia, now is the time to keep a check on our young people’s mental health and wellbeing.
Many may be excited at the prospect of more freedom but others may feel mixed emotions. How your son adjusts to new routines will depend on how well he copes with stress and change.
You can help him navigate the many changes in his life right now and help him deal with the uncertainty that we are all experiencing with this checklist.
Encourage him to get back into the school routine early, including regular sleep patterns, school structure and uniform. Start to get him out of the house more often, to make him feel more comfortable out of the house bubble
Be positive about his return to on-site learning and help him focus on the positive features of school life such as his friends, teachers and events. Encourage him to place the issues that are worrying him into control buckets and focus on those that he can control such as his diet, sleep, exercise, friendships, and school work – rather than those outside of his control.
Partner with school
Keep up to date with the information from school so you can be prepared and ask questions if you have any. Prepare him for the fact that it will take time to adjust. Make sure your son knows who his support network is at school
What to keep
Reflect on those aspects of isolation life that you have all enjoyed as a family and think about how some of these could be kept when your son returns to school and life returns to a new normal.
Exercise and physical activity can help with mood, energy and motivation, and keeping up his friendships either in person or online is also important.
Let him know that it is normal to feel anxious, frustrated or disorganised through a period of transition and that he may experience fluctuations in mood, motivation, concentration and sleep. Keep checking in on him, it may take some time for him to settle.
Be positive about him seeking help, be calm and patient with him and contact his school if you feel you need support to help him.
Helpful resources:Naomi Tham is a School Psychologist and Counsellor and has a particular interest in boys’ education and wellbeing. This article is about Parenting
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