How to Support Your Child’s Social-Emotional Health: 8 Tips for Families

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Learn how families can help their child through the transition back to school and during another school year starting during the COVID-19 pandemic. This tip sheet is also available as a downloadable PDF.

How can you support your child during the transition back to school and during the school year? Here are some ideas.

1. Check in with your child.

You can ask:

  • How do you feel about going back to school?
  • Is anything worrying you?
  • What was a fun or hard part of today?
  • Is anyone teasing or bullying you?
  • Do you have any questions for me?

2. Keep track of how your child is doing.

Pay attention to your child's:

  • moods
  • feelings
  • behaviors
  • attitudes about school

If you see changes or have questions, talk with your child’s teacher or doctor about what you notice.

3. Create a new routine together.

Talk about how to stay healthy through:

  • sleep and exercise
  • good nutrition and hydration
  • managing screen time

4. Encourage your child by:

  • staying calm and supportive
  • helping your child name their emotions
  • focusing on positive things
  • sharing why your child is special
  • talking about why you are proud of your child
  • drawing and writing together

5. Help your child address anxiety about safety and uncertainty.

If your child is anxious about safety or returning to remote learning:

  • listen to their concerns
  • share safety steps they can take
  • answer their questions honestly
  • confirm that there is still uncertainty around this school year
  • share the information you do have.

6. Help your child address anxiety about separation.

If your child is anxious about separation from you:

  • listen to their concerns
  • practice short times apart
  • create a good-bye routine
  • send them a special note or photo in their backpack
  • assure them you will miss them too.

7. If you need more support, look for it!

You can find out how to:

  • contact school counselors or psychologists
  • find resources to address stress, anxiety, trauma, or abuse
  • connect with other families.

8. Share important information with the teacher about your child.

Tell the teacher about your child's:

  • strengths and challenges
  • ways of dealing with stress
  • questions and concerns
  • interests and talents.

Notes:

Special thanks to Kristina Robertson, Becky Corr, Debbie Zacarian and school social worker Rukiya Hassan for their review.

References

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You are welcome to print copies or republish materials for non-commercial use as long as credit is given to Colorín Colorado and the author(s). For commercial use, please contact [email protected]

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