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Mental Health is Especially Important This School Year: Here's How to Cultivate Emotional Well-Being in Your Child


As children go back to school, some experts are warning of a mental health tsunami. 

Children who are experiencing distress might be sleepless, weepy, have stomach or breathing problems or a decreased interest in activities. 

Rollins College Psychology Professor Sharon Carnahan says the key to mitigating some of these symptoms is to practice new behaviors children might need to use in school. 

And she says if children are staying at home, set up and stick to a daily routine. 

“So that meals happen at regular times, bed times happen at regular times, and there’s time to turn off all the electronics and go run around the house and that you have a predictable daily routine at home.”

She says parents can also encourage social activities like writing letters and making phone or Zoom calls with friends or sharing a family meal.

“Unbelievable, but just sitting down and having dinner with your family and no electronics every single night provides resilience against stress and difficulty. So, the family dinner is a great resource.”

Carnahan says if parents notice a prolonged change in their child’s behavior they should consult their pediatrician. 

If you or someone you know is suicidal, contact the Suicide National Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.

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Danielle Prieur is a general assignment reporter and fill-in host at WMFE.