September 2022 –
The MLO Minute: “How to Support Your Child’s Mental Health and Wellness” –
By Allyson McAndrews, M.Ed., MLO’s Director of Community Outreach and Marketing
Back-To-School Wellness Check!
Don’t let the switch from summer to September be stressful!
Fall sports, school buses with smiling students, pumpkin spice seasoning, sweaters, and sweatshirts… These are just a few images that come to mind when we think about the month of September. While this time of year can be exciting, it can also be very stressful – especially for students. Historically, returning to the classroom can be a challenge for many children as they say goodbye to their independence that they had throughout the summer months. The pandemic, however, has created a whole new set of challenges for students. Over the past couple of years, their daily routines have drastically changed, affecting their overall mental health and wellness.
These uncertain times have proved that there is a need for more open communication surrounding mental health, especially with school-age children. The National Alliance on Mental Illness – NAMI is the nation’s largest grassroots mental health organization. NAMI works to raise awareness and provide support for those impacted by mental illness. With over 600 local affiliates, they have continued to provide an abundance of information and resources to our communities. One of NAMI’s widely used back-to-school resources is “The Three C’s for Parents and Caregivers”. This is a great guide for parents to use when discussing mental health and wellness with kids. Because children can be reluctant to discuss their thoughts and feelings, this resource provides useful suggestions for encouraging safe and healthy conversations.
NAMI: The Three C’s
“Tips for parents on supporting their children’s emotional and mental well-being during the challenging transition back to the classroom and throughout the school year!”
- Get Curious: Children often say “everything is fine” even when they are showing changes in behavior and attitude. This section offers great conversation starters for parents to help their child feel supported and comfortable when talking about their mental health.
- Get Concrete: At home, it is important to have concrete activities to do with your child to support their mental health. Two (free and fun!) activities that NAMI has to offer are “10 Questions on a Tuesday” and “A Week of Wellness”.
- Stay Compassionate: Using compassionate and calm language with your child can help them better understand their emotions and mental health symptoms. Be an active listener and empathetic to their feelings.
Here at MLO, we understand that students thrive when they have a daily routine, especially children who receive special education services. The unpredictability of the global pandemic has forced students to drastically alter their daily routines, causing an increase in stress and anxiety. Resources like “The Three C’s” offer great tips for supporting your child’s mental health and promoting open dialogue in the home.
If you believe your child is not receiving the proper educational services for their condition, or if you have concerns about their educational progress, we are here to help! Our initial consultation is without charge, and most of our cases are handled without fees paid by parents of children with disabilities. Please do not hesitate to contact us today by clicking here or by calling 610-648-9300.
Are you interested in learning more about our free programs and presentations on issues pertaining to our practice areas? We frequently present (virtually and in-person) on a variety of topics including special education, mental health services, IEPs, special needs planning, Special Needs Trusts, Title IX, and more. Contact our Director of Marketing and Community Outreach, Allyson McAndrews, M.Ed., at firstname.lastname@example.org.