Thousands of LAUSD students will be heading back to school Monday and there’s always a few first day jitters, but medical professionals say because of the pandemic returning to school can induce anxiety and parents need to watch for the warning signs.
Leo and his sister Lyla are heading back to the classroom Monday.
Both say they are a little nervous but over-all they’re looking forward to the new school year.
However, many students are likely feeling more than just a few first day jitters.
“A lot of these kids have been home either continuously or sporadically many have been homeschooled for the past two years over the pandemic,” said Mitali Wadekar, medical director, Dignity Health Department of Psychiatry.
Wadekar says students are dealing with anxiety now more than ever.
“Just not having that structure. That disruptive routine lack of social interaction is bringing up a lot of anxiety a lot of tension and nervousness among kids and parents,” Wadekar said.
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Wadekar says signs of anxiety in young kids include stomach aches, headaches, sleep disturbances, not wanting to socialize, or refusing to go to school.
In older kids parents should pay attention to dismissive behavior, irritability and wanting to withdraw or isolate from others.
Wadekar says the best way to combat anxiety is to create a stable environment.
“Have some sort of predictability in their home life, setting up regular schedules for their sleep and nutrition,” Wadekar said. “Talking about their day so they feel listened to and supported.”
“Schools such as LAUSD have set up robust mental health systems; they have councilors on board. so definitely reach out to them, Wadekar.
Wadekar says parents should check in with themselves, because chances are if you are feeling anxious or stressed about something, your child will notice that.