Tips for a Successful School Year
The past few years have brought many changes and challenges—all of which have impacted kids’ and teens’ mental health.
But even in uncertain times, a new school year brings a sense of possibility and hope. Here’s how to set your children up for success as they return to classrooms this fall.
1. Connect with school officials
View the teachers and school counselors as partners. Talk with them about your child’s academic and emotional needs.
Be sure to mention major life shifts, such as a death or divorce in your family. They can then offer appropriate support or accommodations, such as reduced workloads or counseling sessions.
2. Lean on routine
Knowing what to expect eases kids’ minds. Add structure by keeping bedtime, mealtimes, and other daily patterns consistent. Include time for fresh air, movement, and play.
As often as you can, sit down to a family dinner. Getting to eat and talk together boosts mental health and well-being. Plus, shared meals tend to include more nutritious foods.
3. Respect rest
Another reason for a regular bedtime? Not getting enough sleep contributes to behavior and health problems, including trouble concentrating and depression.
To promote slumber, turn off screens at least one hour before bedtime. Don't pile too many toys into young kids’ beds—or excessive activities, like sports practices and lessons, in older kids’ evenings.
4. Watch for red flags
Signs your child or teen is struggling include prolonged sadness, intense fears or worries, big personality shifts, and substance use. Reach out to their pediatrician or a mental health provider if you spot these changes or any other behavior that concerns you.
If you think your child is in danger of hurting themselves or others, call a crisis line or the National Suicide Prevention Line at 988 or 800-273-TALK (800-273-8255).