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Preparing to go back to school: Ways to tell your child may not be ready

Posted at 9:32 AM, Jul 29, 2020

LANSING, Mich. — As states and districts unveil their plans for children going back to school, we’re here to help you with facts and reliable information. Ash-har Quraishi is looking at the warning signs your child might not be ready to go back.

As athletics programs begin to restart 14-year-old Amina Ahmad says she’s ready to get back into the swing of things.

“I really want to see friends and see teachers and like being actually inside the classroom.”

Still, there is uneasiness about whether a return to the classroom would lead to an outbreak.

Ahmad shares that “some people really are kind of worried about how many students are actually going back and how many people are going to be there.”

Politicians, school administrators and parents are all weighing the potential risks of returning to the classroom. as Coronavirus cases surge across the country experts say the psychological toll on children needs to be addressed.

Dr. Tali Raviv is a child clinical psychologist at Lurie Children’s Hospital who specializes in student mental and health resilience.

“One of the things that we're seeing a lot is that after being away from that routine for a long time it is normal. for families and for youth to be concerned about how is this going to be?”

The American Association of Pediatrics says the benefits of in-person learning outweigh the risks. and "...the AAP strongly advocates that all policy considerations for the coming school year should start with a goal of having students physically present in school.”

But mental health experts say it’s important to understand how each child feels about going back.

Dr. Raviv shared that “because it's a very different situation if a child is worried i'm not going to have my best friend with me in my little pod… than if they're saying i'm worried i'm going to get sick and die or you're going to get sick and die.”

Signs that they’re anxious about returning to school include:

  • any significant changes in sleep, falling asleep, staying asleep, not wanting to sleep alone or having nightmares
  • changes in appetite or a lack of appetite
  • headaches or stomach aches
  • being more irritable, frequent melt downs
  • and withdrawal from friends, family, other activities

Dr. Raviv says if the anxiety is debilitating – it may be time to see a professional.

For Amina Ahmad, her school’s hybrid alternating in-person/online program has put her mind at ease for now.

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