Lesson Plan

How To Help Your Nervous Student Return To Online School

As kids feel the anxiety and other emotional challenges tied to going back to school in an unfamiliar environment, Children's Health in Dallas offers tips to cope

NBC 5 News

First day jitters may turn into a whole lot more this year.

As kids feel the anxiety and other emotional challenges tied to going back to school in an unfamiliar environment, Children's Health in Dallas will expand a new program to equip parents, teachers and students with ways to cope.

Children's Health had all the pieces in place before the pandemic to make a difference for families now.

Last year, they launched a telebehavioral health program in school districts like Prosper ISD, where they connected students with behavioral health experts remotely.

Now, they're branching out, connecting with partner district's families at home, and will soon host webinars for parents, teachers and even students on handling the stress and anxiety of online learning.

"We want to really help answer questions surrounding how parents can best support their students and how they can support maybe different feelings that their students are having with all these different changes going on," said behavioral healthcare manager Vanessa Simpson.

Signs of anxiety look different at different ages.

Elementary school children may have tantrums or meltdowns that are out of character, as well as changes in eating or sleep behaviors.

For middle schoolers, they may be extremely irritable, maybe yelling out of anger or acting out.

The older they are, the bigger the signs, according to psychologists.

A major red flag to watch for in your high school student is Isolation from family and friends.

"If you notice that your high schooler will not come out of the room. They want to isolate all day long. They are also isolating from their friends. That's a really big red sign that something bigger is going," said Simpson.

Experts suggest creating a foundation, or baseline, right now. It should include a routine or schedule, and lots of open communication with your child.

When things get tense, talk it out.

"Instead of having assumptions about their feelings, just asking the and creating that safe to communicate is really helpful,' said Simpson.

You can find more helpful tips here.

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