MEMPHIS, Tenn. — In just a few weeks, most school districts across the Mid-South will re-open their doors to students.
For some students, it will be the first time they’ve set foot into a classroom in more than a year.
Just as students had to adjust to remote and hybrid learning, they’re now having to adjust to going back to school in person full time.
That transition back to full-time, in-person learning might cause anxiety for a lot of kids.
That’s why a focus on mental health is essential for students returning in the fall.
“My kids are a little apprehensive. I have a middle schooler, and he’s going to middle school for the first time,” Charles Lampkin, a father of four boys said.
Lampkin said the adjustment to remote learning was tough on him and his boys. He’s now trying to ease some of their fears as the school year nears.
“Everybody’s looking at it like, ‘What am I going to do? How are we going to do this?’ This is going to be a full day with no more computer.”
Lampkin’s boys are not alone.
Dr. Toni Whitaker is a developmental pediatrician at Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital.
She said numerous kids are experiencing feelings of anxiety about the upcoming year. She said those feelings are completely normal.
“It would be really reasonable to think kids may need some extra time to get adapted back into a system they haven’t been in a while,” she said. “I think we need to cut a little slack.”
Dr. Whitaker said parents should connect with their children by asking them what they’re excited or nervous about.
“I really think connecting openly and honestly about feelings could really help them all,” she said. “Practice can really help a lot, so kind of walking through some scenarios with kids can help them get some confidence so they know what to do when they get there.”
Dr. Whitaker said most school districts have counselors on hand and ready to help.
Meanwhile, Lampkin said he’s doing all he can to let his boys know he’s there for them.
“As a parent, I kind of want to get in there and let them know that they have resources, and I am there for them.”
Dr. Whitaker said Le Bonheur has talked with a lot of school districts about ways to help their students feel more at ease.
She encourages parents to reach out to their child’s school to find out what they’re doing to make students feel more comfortable.
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