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The end of summer tends to be a season of stress for children of all ages. Importantly, parents should also be aware of their own anxiety at this time of year, as kids take cues from their parents.

Child development experts recommend that parents make an intentional effort to remain aware of their own feelings, and then modeling comfort and confidence to help their children realize there is no reason for fear. Building from a place of comfort, parents can have an open conversation about transitioning back to school.

"You should ask questions like 'what do you like most about school?' or 'Is there anything in particular that is worrying about starting this semester?'," recommends Dr. Ariel Heller, a psychiatrist at Holy Name. "Acknowledge your child's concerns, support them, and remind them of the positive aspects of school, like learning new things or extracurricular activities, making new friends and reconnecting with current ones."

Dr. Heller adds, "Parents should focus on their child's strengths and the need to do their best regardless of the outcome. Emphasize the goal of building skills and getting better, and not necessarily having to become the best at something. This will reinforce the key idea that their own efforts and personal growth are what is most important."

In addition to the mental preparation, parents should ensure that their kids are physically ready for the new school year. Dr. Janet Lazieh, pediatrician with Holy Name Pediatrics, recommends scheduling "well exams," comprehensive annual checkups for children, before the start of each new school grade from elementary through highschool.

These well-exams ensure normal growth, help prevent illnesses, and screen for various conditions that can hinder healthy development. Pediatricians also screen for early puberty, since this triggers significant physical and mental changes, and monitor for emotional disorders in youngsters from 11 to 18 years old.

These visits are also an opportunity for children to discuss sensitive topics such as bullying, harassment, and depression. Parents can allow teen children to talk privately with their physician, enabling them to cover subjects that they may not be comfortable expressing at home.

Parents are encouraged to call ahead with any specific questions or significant concerns about their child, including eating disorders, difficulty coping with family crises or potentially suicidal thoughts.

"The goal is to keep your child healthy and set up to succeed. Open communication about stressors, along with well visits, can play a big role in their success," says Dr. Lazieh. "Holy Name is here for you and your kids throughout their developmental journey."

To schedule an appointment with Holy Name Pediatrics, click here.