Protecting Your Child’s Mental Health at School Post-Lockdown
A survey on parents showed widespread concern about the mental health impact of Covid-19 on children. With lockdown forcing children out of education early and back into the home, many students are lost, confused and concerned over their health and educational future. And with the government taking a U-turn on GCSE, BTEC and A-level grades, children are more stressed than ever about heading back into the classroom.
As a result of Covid-19, many children are now suffering from anxiety and depression, worried about their health and are feeling concerned about falling behind their fellow students. Without the right support and guidance, further mental health issues can emerge and severely impact the happiness and education of your child.
Please keep reading if you are worried about protecting your child’s mental health at school post-lockdown. With an understanding of why your children are facing mental health issues, you can start to see why they need extra support from you and possibly a therapist.
Anxiety and Depression
Covid-19 controls much of our lives still, including our mental health. As such, we need to make sure we are looking out for signs of depression in our children. We often think of mental health issues like depression and anxiety as adult problems, but in reality, they are problems which can affect people and children of any age.
With Covid-19 shifting children’s lives from active to stagnant, it can cause their minds to slow down and consider the situation around them. Depressive thoughts caused by isolation as well as health anxiety over the effects of Covid-19 can take control and cause them to distance themselves from the rest of the family.
Don’t brush off actions which suggest depression or anxiety as your child having a bad day. A child who seems to be stuck in a dark, negative mood with feelings of hopelessness or fear may have a severe case of depression. They need your support as parents and understanding of what they are going through to help them bounce back.
Fears of Falling Behind
Millions of children were sent home early before the end of the school year as a result of Covid-19. While many students may have taken this time to relax and enjoy time off from education, the lack of support from the government and clarity on what is happening may finally be starting to sink in. With this renewed focus can come fears over falling behind in their classes.
These fears may be rooted in their desires to progress to college and university with good grades and confidence. Without the support of teachers and lessons to give them the knowledge they require, these goals can soon start to become unrealistic. Alternatively, shame may be what drives your child’s fear of falling behind. They don’t want other students to ridicule or mock them for not understanding topics or content.
Take it Slow
So, what can you do to ensure your student feels confident and mentally prepared when heading back to school post-lockdown? Life has felt both slow and fast at the same time recently. Lockdowns dragged onwards at a snail’s pace while the news of Covid-19 was constant as infection rates rose rapidly. Make sure you don’t push your child too quick too soon and let them ease back into their education at a pace which suits them.
Some children will be excited to get back to school and eager to learn, while others will be more anxious and reluctant. Make sure your child understands that you are supportive of them no matter what speed they are set at. Make sure you aren’t pressuring them about grades and assignments, nor are you letting them slack off too much. Gently encourage them to seek extra teacher support if they need it or look into ways you can help them work on their education at home like homeschooling or tutoring.
If you feel like they are still anxious or showcasing symptoms of depression weeks into the new school year, then consider therapy. Therapy for depression and anxiety is very successful in providing young children with a space to be open and honest about the way they think and feel. Often, children are reluctant to share their inner thoughts with parents as they don’t want to feel judged. Depression and anxiety itself can cause them to think like they will be shamed or belittled if they tell others about what they are experiencing.
Therapy will help your child understand the mental health issue they face, and with this understanding comes the confidence to work towards a future where they are free from these negative thoughts and feelings. As an expert therapist myself, I have worked with countless children facing mental health issues who feel like they don’t know what to do. From this experience, I have learnt what tactics, activities and advice resonate well with children and help them overcome their depression or anxiety.
Check out my website to learn more about my services as a therapist and how I can support your child’s mental health journey. If depression or anxiety goes unaddressed, it can both lead to a life of mental health issues and have a significant impact on their education. Ensure they get the support they need from the start so they can ease back into student life with ease and confidence.