Preparing Your Kids for Back to School with Melissa Clark, LPC-S – Raising Mentally Healthy Kids with Michelle Nietert
One of the things I’ve been asked most about this fall is how we as parents can help prepare our kids to return to school. For this episode, I’ve invited my friend and Licensed Professional Counselor – Supervisor Melissa Clark to help. We’re going to talk about how we can help empower our children to be flexible, confident, and competent this semester. We’ll also offer some strategies to create a safe space for your anxious kid to process in a healthy way.
Key points from our conversation:
🚌 When encouraging an anxious child to return to school or other social situations, you need to know the difference between pain and pressure. There is no definitive line. You will know what they need by spending time with them.
✨ It’s challenging, but it’s important for us to be reflective of how God uniquely made our children and ask how we can shepherd them well. This means not coddling them but helping them make better decisions.
😷 As kids return to school with varying mask protocols, it’s important for them to practice flexibility. The best way for us to help them learn is to model it ourselves.
Anxiety is a feeling of powerlessness, so it can be helpful to make a plan with your child about navigating their day and finding safe spaces. “When we take control over what we can in the present, it shapes resiliency.”
🗣️ We should be helping our kids (especially younger kids) build their feelings vocabulary and teaching them to express their emotions. It can be helpful to use a feelings chart.
😫 If your child gets overwhelmed, give them a safe space to process. Try journaling. Offer to send them to a counselor or find mentors they can speak with. Spend one on one time with them and ask them what emotions they’re experiencing.
You can find more resources about mental health, parenting, and coping with anxiety at MichelleNietert.com.
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