PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – With all the uncertainty surrounding back to school plans and what they might look like for school districts, that could take a toll on a student’s mental health.
How can parents prepare their children for the unknown and the start of a school year they’re uncomfortable with?
Dr. Abigail Schlesinger is the Chief of Child Psychiatry at Western Psych and Children’s Hospital and she is reminding parents that kids are resilient and they handle things differently than adults.
Dr. Schlesinger said that while the uncertainty may be tough, it’s best to keep a schedule for kids as much as possible.
For example, she cites the importance to get up at the same time every day, regardless of if the student is learning remotely or going to in-person classes.
However, one mom, who did not want to be identified, told KDKA she has a son going into the third grade at Chartiers Valley Intermediate School and her biggest concern is her son not being in the classroom.
“He’s expressed that it’s hard for him to want to get out and do things, and want to listen and pay attention, and learn on his own right, we’ve been working on that,” she said. “Not being there, and not being around people, just makes him not want to care as much.”
Dr. Schlesinger says that this is a signal to make sure the child is getting help.
“If we do feel like our kids are getting stuck on any of these things, not being able to get back on schedule, becoming suicidal, becoming so anxious they’re not themselves anymore, please get help,” she said.
Chartiers Valley plans on holding in-person classes this fall with extensive health and safety precautions in place.
However, the district says recommendations and guidance relative to COVID-19 and the reopening of schools have continued to change rapidly and it’s always subject to change.
Dr. Schlesinger added that it’s important to talk to your children to create an open dialogue.