Mental Health Tips for Families

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Mental Health Tips for Back to School Stress

September 23, 2020

Going back to school can be a stressful time for students. All students are transitioning from being at home in the summer to going back to their school routines. Some students have an extra layer of obstacles to overcome such as moving to a new school or community.

We sat down with licensed clinical social worker and certified school social worker Nardia Davis to discuss back to school stress relief and mental health tips for parents.


Nardia Davis is a school social worker with the Osceola School District at the elementary school level, as well as a licensed clinical social worker and a certified school social worker. After 18 years of working in the field of social work, she had a lot of information to share with us about how to deal with back to school stress.

The 2020-2021 school year is unique and inevitably will include extra stressors.

It’s important to recognize that students have been away from a traditional school setting, the consistency, and the support that comes with that for the past five months. There are many feelings associated with being a part of a pandemic, as well as other social issues taking place in our community.

Some common feelings students have when going back to school include:

  • Fear
  • Anxiety
  • Stress
  • Isolation
  • Grief

To help reduce these stressors and prepare mentally as we return to learning, families can:

  • Help students identify a supportive individual such as a parent or caregiver, family member, or friend that they can talk to whether it be in-person, over the phone, or virtually
  • Establish a healthy self-care routine
  • Engage in stress management techniques such as mindful breathing and exercise
  • Practice reframing negative thoughts
  • Always practice kindness and compassion for yourself and others

It’s important to remember that each individual responds differently to new situations and stress, and it’s okay to need someone to speak to routinely to check-in.

Once school starts, parents and teachers may find that the feelings associated with returning can differ from student to student. Depending on a student’s age, the signs of stress can vary. 

Signs of stress in students:

Preschool-aged Students 

  • Helplessness and uncertainty by crying or screaming 
  • Regress to bed-wetting and babytalk
  • May develop new fears

Elementary Students

  • Worry about the safety of themselves or others
  • Cling to a teacher or parent
  • Become overly upset about things that did not bother them previously
  • Have a difficult time concentrating

Middle/High School Students

  • Show signs of depression or feeling alone
  • Become easily agitated
  • Take on unnecessary risks 
  • Have a difficult time sleeping
  • Slow changes in their behavior

As we transition back to the new normal and return to learning, it’s important for parents to remember that the Osceola School District prioritizes mental health and is a great source of support for social and emotional needs. If families are unsure of what resources are available or how to access them, they can contact their child’s school to learn more. 

If you’re looking for more mental health tips for kids and families, check out our Mental Health Resources for Parents.

The Check-In Project is a mental health initiative of Wraparound Osceola. Our goal is to provide families, schools, and employers with the tools and resources needed to check-in with one another and provide the support needed to break the stigma surrounding mental health.


Email: info@thecheckinproject.ORG// Phone: 407-870-4897