Your Complete Back-to-School Health Checklist

Your Complete Back-to-School Health Checklist

Take time for an emotional wellness check-in

African American father reading a fairy tale fable story for kids at home. Happy family lying on the floor indoorsTwinsterphoto/Shutterstock

"Rather than waiting until a stressful situation hits, parents should continually check in with their kids and maintain awareness of their moods and state of mind. That way they can get a sense of how their kids are doing and whether there have been changes in their behavior or mental state that warrant further investigation," says Barbara Nosal, PhD, LMFT, LADC, the Chief Clinical Officer at Newport Academy. "Every child is different, especially as they mature into adolescence, so parents need to judge behavior and happiness levels based on their intimate knowledge of their unique child, rather than on any checklist that describes the 'average' child." Check out our 11 teacher-approved tricks to get your kids ready for the first day of school.

Start with these mental health questions

Cheerful smiling little girls having fun at city playgroundIakov Filimonov/Shutterstock

If you're not sure where to begin in terms of a mental and emotional health check, Dr. Nosal suggests a few pertinent questions like the following: Is your child/teen sleeping well? Do they have a healthy appetite? Do they have meaningful relationships with others, including peers and family members? Are they able to bounce back from failures and mistakes? Are they able to express their emotions?

Address back-to-school jitters

Tough day at school! Sad child near the blackboard indoors. Kid is learning in class. Complex math, arithmetic and examples. Numbers written with chalk on board.Yuganov Konstantin/Shutterstock

"The biggest gift parents can give their kids is the ability to cope with stressful situations," says Dr. Nosal. "Children learn by example, so parents need to be mindful of how they manage their own stress—in particular, what they say and do in front of their children. When parents are anxious, children not only sense it—they feel it. Children today are under enough stress of their own without taking on parental anxiety." She suggests asking your child what would help them transition back to school more easily, as they might have very specific ideas. Here are some great ways to beat back-to-school stress.

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