As kids prepare to return to school, a new poll warns that the many children who found the last school year challenging are likely to be apprehensive this time around.
The online survey, conducted by the Harris Poll on behalf of the nonprofit On Our Sleeves Movement for Children’s Mental Health, found that 71% of American parents say their children experienced challenges last school year.
These included safety concerns (37%), academic challenges (26%), bullying (24%), ongoing social challenges related to the pandemic (24%) and mental health challenges (22%).
“Between academic struggles, behavioral challenges, increased depression and anxiety and challenges making social connections, we’ve been hearing firsthand from families about how tough last school year was for many kids,” said Whitney Raglin Bignall, associate clinical director of On Our Sleeves and a pediatric psychologist at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio.
“As we head into the new school year, it’s crucial to understand how kids are thinking and feeling about returning to the classroom,” she added in a hospital news release. “Checking in and having conversations with them is a simple, yet critical, way to help minimize any lingering issues before they turn into even bigger challenges this upcoming school year.
“Talking about mental health can be difficult but it’s recommended that parents and caregivers initiate daily conversations. This helps children feel comfortable and supported enough to share their thoughts and feelings,” Raglin Bignall noted. “Having families work together to understand the child’s challenges and develop goals for the new year can help set kids up for a more successful academic year.”
This survey was conducted online July 11-13 among 585 parents of children aged 3 to 17.
For more on helping kids deal with stress, see the Mayo Clinic.
SOURCE: Nationwide Children’s Hospital, news release, July 27, 2023
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