Pediatrician shares mental health tips for back to school

Source: Live 5
Published: Aug. 11, 2022 at 4:36 AM EDT|Updated: Aug. 11, 2022 at 7:27 AM EDT
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - The last few years dealing with COVID-19 have been stressful for everyone including kids. School went virtual and many had to adjust to a new normal.

Dr. Preeti Parikh, a board-certified pediatrician in New York, says this alone has caused added stress to students who already deal with a lot. Making friends, taking tests, and turning in homework are just a few things that cause stress and anxiety in kids.

Parikh says managing your child’s mental health is just as important as their physical health, but it can be difficult to spot the signs.

“Some may say their stomach hurts, or some may say that their heart is racing. So, talk to your child individually and figure out what causes their stress and anxiety,” Parikh says.

Producing a plan for your child on how to deal with stress and leading by example is important in maintaining a healthy mind for both parents and students.

One example of managing stress is having your child close their eyes and take a deep breath to calm them down. Parikh says physical activity also acts as a stress reliever. Kids don’t have to be involved in an organized sport, they can dance or even do an online class with their parents.

Parikh doesn’t recommend much screen time or social media for younger students. She says it can be very harmful to a student’s mental health and parents should monitor their usage.

Parents should schedule an appointment with their pediatrician before the start of school if their child has any health concerns such as asthma or food allergies. Parikh recommends kids have backup medicine with them at school in case of an emergency and to be in communication with their child’s teachers.

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