Back to school ~ We can do this!

By Sherrie Pratt

We’ve all been through a change because of COVID-19. For months, families adjusted to sharing the same space for work and school. Now, change is happening again as more children have returned to the classroom.

Like adults, many children are coping with stress and grief caused by the pandemic.

Dr. Diane Mageau, a pediatrician at Central Florida Health Care, reminds parents and caregivers to have a conversation with their children about anxiety or depression due to being in a new environment. Dr. Mageau says mental health is just as important as our physical health.

Be Mindful

It’s essential to be mindful of your child’s behavior during the school year. Signs of distress include mood changes, behavioral changes, loss of interest in activities, difficulties in sleeping, changes in appetite, loss of concentration, less interest in schoolwork, change in appearance, increase in reckless behavior, and suicidal thoughts. Make sure to address these changes with your child and their pediatrician.

Practicing Gratitude

Practicing gratitude with our families each day can have a positive impact on dealing with stressful situations. Some studies show gratitude can improve sleep quality. Discuss something good that happened during the day, what you are grateful for, or how to help others.


Self-care, exercising, and eating healthy also aid in coping with stress. Making time to unwind has so many advantages and connecting with our children is even more productive.

Remember, you or your child don’t have to face anxiety alone. Pediatricians serve as a guide and helpful listener on health and wellbeing.