Yellow number two pencils have a certain smell. It reminds me that school is starting soon… as if I cannot read the huge ‘Back to School
Sale’ signs in every store. If you listen closely, you can almost hear the children crying out in agony and parents rejoicing in the return of their freedom. But at what point do we stop trying to silence our kids and listen to them? There may be a lot of reasons why they do not look forward to school. Making friends can be difficult; teachers may not have the time to give your child one-on-one attention that they need to learn. Bullying and cyber-bullying are spreading across our schools like the flu. If they had the flu, we would let them stay home, rest, and recuperate. So why are we telling kids to be strong and get through it? Younger generations are taking on more stress than ever. And we are seeing more people reaching out for help with mental illness. Many students feel defeated before they even walk into a classroom. And why would they try if they think they are just going to fail? With so many who are struggling, we need to stop ignoring and stigmatizing them.
I am urging you as parents to sit down with your kids and
discuss the idea of a Mental Health Day. Let your kids know that
missing a day of school is not the end of the world, and that it is
okay to prioritize their mental health. This is not an easy way to get
out of school or an excuse for lack of gumption. This is learning to
take a breath. If we can implement tools for children to be able to
express what they need and take steps to help them, we can make their experience richer and more pleasant.
School should be a happy and safe place for all who are in
it. I want kids to be able to look forward to their classes starting.
Children should not be weighted with anxiety and depression brought on by the intensity of their educational environment. And hopefully by initiating conversations like this between you and your child, channels of communication will be made and maintained. That way, when they are anxious and stressed about a test or a bully or anything they are going through, they know that they can talk to you. They will trust you to listen and help. By giving them these tools and your support, you are equipping them to be successful and able to manage the stressors of life.
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