LDSBeWell Bulletin

September 2020

Back to School Transition 2020

The back-to- school transition is always an important one for parents and families. But this year’s return to classes, amid the safety questions and uncertainties related to the COVID-19 pandemic, is like no other. The specific concerns and decisions facing individual families will vary depending on numerous factors. But one factor all parents will be dealing with is the extra stress of uncertainty. Here are some words of advice and strategies developed by experts on how to manage the stress of this year’s transition to school.

Try to decrease your stress - When we are overstressed, some of our responses to stress can actually increase our stress in the long run. In a quiet moment, reflect on what you are doing in response to stress. Might any of them be increasing your stress in the long term?

Be mindful of how you think about stressors - The stressors that bother us are, almost by definition, negative. But when we dwell excessively on negative thoughts about the stressor we can get into a pessimistic loop that feeds our bad feelings, and interfere with our communication with others.

Keep doing things you enjoy - One of the most important ways to manage the negative impacts of stress is to do enjoyable, healthy things that make us feel good. Coping with stress requires energy. Doing things we enjoy, even in small steps, helps us get back into a positive frame of mind and replenishes the energy we use in coping with stress.

Most important of all: the parent-child connection - Positive daily relationship with a parent/caregiver is one of a child’s best buffers against stress. Be sure to do things to stay connected with your kids in order to help them strengthen their resiliency.

For more tips visit The Psychology Foundation of Canada.

Everyday Mental Health Activities at Home

Do you have elementary school children at home? Try these easy and fun mental health activities which focus on social-emotional learning.

Social-emotional learning skills help us:

  • Manage stress
  • Identify our emotions
  • Stay positive and keep moving forward
  • Nurture relationships
  • Know and feel good about ourselves
  • Plan and problem-solve

Social and emotional skills are taught at school. Your child also learns the skills from you and other adults at home. And you can teach them on purpose too.

If you have a teen at home, take a look at our COVID-19 information specific to secondary students.

How to Notice Mental Health Concerns for Your Child

Individuals and families have experienced the COVID-19 pandemic in unique and varied ways. As we return to school, in-person or virtually, it is important to consider signs that could indicate that your child is struggling with an emerging or escalating mental health problem. Identifying problems early, and providing caring support, goes a long way towards prevention and/or worsening of difficulties.

You know your child best, and can notice changes in their behaviours or emotions. Right now, however, it can be difficult to know whether things you observe are just normal ups and downs associated with the pandemic, part of return to school jitters, or related to an emerging mental health concern.

Parents and caring adults may notice changes in behaviours and emotions that could be potential signs of a mental health problem. Ask yourself:

  • Are these behaviours and emotions out of character for my child?
  • Are they having a negative impact on my child’s ability to enjoy everyday life?
  • Are they having a negative impact on our family life?
  • Are they getting in the way of my child’s progress at school?
  • Are these concerning behaviours happening more often?
  • Are they more intense?
  • Are they lasting longer?

Signs that may indicate a mental health concern for younger children

Signs that may indicate a mental health concern for older children and teens

It can be challenging to talk with your child about mental health problems. Remember to take the time and prepare yourself for a calm discussion. You may feel anxious about what you are noticing in your child. So, it is a good idea to take a moment to care for your own wellness before you approach your child about this. Perhaps you might take some deep breaths or go for a walk to relax. Or settle your thoughts in a way that works for you (e.g. drawing your attention gently to one thing you see, one thing you hear, and one thing you feel).

If your child is already connected to their in-school support team, you can reach out to them. If not, check with the school principal to learn about school mental health services that are available.

How Would I Know That my Child is Experiencing a Mental Health Problem?

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Parent/Caregiver Resources to Support Your Child's Mental Health

For more information and resources, visit the LDSB School Reopening page.

School Reopening Wellness Resources

If you are looking for additional information to support your child's transition back to learning, check out these short modules created by LDSB Clinical Consultants.
Back to In Class Learning During COVID 19 Preparing Your Child for Success Aug 26 2020
LDSB Getting Back on Track: Healthy Sleep Habits August 24 2020
LDSB Three Ways to Build Your Child's Resilience, August 2020
LDSB Uncertain Times: Understanding Anxiety Part 1 August 24 2020
LDSB Uncertain Times: Understanding Anxiety Part 2 August 25, 2020

Emotional Regulation for Children 0-6

The Maltby Centre is offering two opportunities for parents and caregivers of children in KFL&A to participate in a virtual workshop offered on Zoom.

This workshop will allow parents to:

  • Learn relationship based approaches and strategies to manage intense emotions
  • Understand the connection between development and emotional regulation
  • Discuss how caregivers can support their young children with emotional regulation

Workshops will run on Tuesday September 29th 2020 at 1:00 pm OR Tuesday October 27th 2020 at 7:30 pm.

To register please contact