Mental Health

Does Your Child Have a Tech Addiction?

In her book “Dopamine Nation: Finding Balance in the Age of Indulgence,” Dr. Anna Lembke makes the case for how technology, with its promise of nonstop engagement and flashing lights, can be addictive. And while addiction may make one think of drugs or alcohol, activities like video games, social media apps, and sites like YouTube can also become unhealthy addictions. Lembke, a professor of psychiatry at Stanford University School of Medicine, says child tech addiction…

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How to Talk About War and the News with Kids

Families across the world have been troubled by the news and images from Russia’s invasion and the war in Ukraine. When our children turn to us to help them understand scary news, we might feel afraid of saying too much—or not enough—and so avoid a conversation that could be a powerful way to help children learn about themselves and the world. Here’s what a handful of child development experts say about what parents, teachers, and…

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Students’ Mental Health Needs Weigh Heavily on Schools

When Millis Public Schools opened its doors for the start of the 2021-22 school year, teachers and staff were looking forward to seeing their students back in real classrooms. “We were so excited that everyone was coming back to begin the school year,” says Bob Mullaney, the superintendent of the suburban Boston school district. But the transition has been more fraught than anticipated due to students’ social and mental health needs. From the beginning, they’ve…

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20 Books to Help Grieving Children and Teens

Kids have dealt with a lot in the last year, from having COVID-19 to watching relatives struggle through it and even losing family members. It can be difficult for children to reconcile what adults already know to be one of the most startling parts of grieving: that the world keeps spinning around you, with little interruption or change in what is expected of you despite the fact that your world has forever changed. When it…

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Tools for Overwhelmed Students: the TRAILS Program

Like kids in so many cities and towns around the globe, the overwhelmed students in Michigan’s Van Buren Intermediate School District have been through a lot these past few years. The pandemic continues to disrupt classrooms, sicken friends and loved ones, and has left some district families jobless and homeless. In this district alone, there were three student suicide attempts since in-person school resumed in fall 2021, along with two student suicides last year. But…

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Middle-Schoolers Are Struggling, So How Can We Help?

To understand the pandemic’s impact on middle-schoolers, picture the pain of lunchtime. A bunch of uncomfortable adolescents are navigating social distancing rules while figuring out when and if to take down their masks. It’s not going well. Some have given up eating lunch entirely, which worries Phyllis Fagell, a school counselor and author of the book, “Middle School Matters.” She knows this age group. And she knows all this anxiety is not just about masks.…

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Schools Struggle with Behavior as Student Stress Peaks

Student stress is ever on the rise, and schools across the country say they’re seeing an uptick in disruptive behaviors as students are returning to classrooms. Some are obvious and visible, like students trashing bathrooms, fighting over social media posts, or running out of classrooms. Teachers report that others, however, are quieter calls for help, like students putting their heads down and refusing to talk. Alyssa Rodriguez expected a rocky readjustment this school year. The…

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How To Improve Mental Health at School

Mental health has only become more important and more fraught as the pandemic has confined children to their homes and limited their social interactions. With parents losing jobs and COVID-19 claiming loved ones, adolescents are experiencing a lot more strain on their mental health, so it’s essential to try to improve mental health for students at school. “There’s just a lot more worry about everyday things. So there’s anxiety about things – and I’m not…

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How to Help Students Re-Adjust to Social Settings

For Muniya Khanna, strong emotional reactions and increased social discomfort are predictable responses as youngsters emerge from more than a year of isolation and students re-adjust to altered routines caused by the pandemic. Khanna is a clinical psychologist in Pennsylvania who specializes in treatment of childhood anxiety. She explained that anxiety is part of the body’s fight-or-flight response to uncertainty. While in-person activities may be billed as a “return to normal,” Khanna said it also…

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10 Back-To-School Tips to Help Students Adjust This Fall

The 2020-2021 school year was unlike any other. Millions of students spent part — or most — of the year learning remotely. After months physically away from teachers, classmates and a traditional school day structure, some kids may need some time to adjust when it comes to tackling the start of a “normal” school year this fall. Here are some practical tips from educators, administrators and counselors to help students adjust to school. 1. Know…

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