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Emphasize and Communicate 


One of the most powerful ways you can support your child through the process of returning to school is by attempting to understand how they are feeling about the situation. Here are some questions that might help to spark some important back-to-school conversations between you and your child:


  • In what ways do you think things will be different this year? What is likely to stay the same?
  • What are you wondering about—and how might you find answers to those questions? How do you go about deciding which information sources you can trust and which ones you should choose to ignore?
  • What is on your mind when you think about returning to school? What are you looking forward to and what are you concerned, frustrated, or even sad about (for example, frustration about not being able to move around as freely at school or the cancellation of extracurricular activities that were the highlight of school for your child)?
  • What are some challenges you might expect to encounter this year? How might we tackle some of those challenges as a family? What additional supports would you like to have put in place at school?
  • Can you think of anything that would help to make school a really positive experience for you this year?
  • What would things look like if everything was going really well or if everything was going wrong? What strategies could you use to get yourself back on track or to reach out for help if you felt like you were hitting a rough patch?
  • When you think about tapping into support at school, who are you most likely to turn to for support, and why? Who are you least likely to turn to—and why? Are there systems and supports that worked last year that might not be available this year? What workarounds can we come up with to ensure that you’re able to access support when you need it?


Don’t forget to do your homework, too. If you make a point of learning as much as you can about the policies and procedures that will be in place at your child’s school, you’ll find it easier to help your child to anticipate and work through any back-to-school related challenges and to debunk any misinformation they might have encountered.

Read more about Navigating School to Support Your Child With Mental Health Challenges.

Back To School Mental Health Kit

While back-to-school is hard for most children and youth in a normal year, this year our kids and their families are facing extraordinary circumstances relating to the pandemic and infection control measures. To help, Children’s Mental Health Ontario has prepared a Back-to-School Tool Mental Health Kit with resources and tips. 

Look for tips, resources and information to help parents and caregivers.

Survival Guide

Practical tips and information to prioritize your own wellness and start making things better for you and your family.

Back-to-School Tips for Parents 

Strategies for making a strange and uncertain situation feel a little less overwhelming for you and your kids.

Parenting in a Pandemic

Parenting in the midst of a pandemic is challenging, especially for parents of kids struggling with mental illness.

You Don’t Have to Do This Alone.

If you are a parent/caregiver worried about your child, or a young person looking for help yourself – please reach out. Our network of child and youth mental health centres has 4,000 professionals ready to help children, youth and families with free counselling and treatment. We provide care in person, on the phone and virtually. No problem is too big or small.

Find your closest child and youth mental health centre.

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