Continuing with the School Year – How Parents Can Help

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By Anna Welle, Licensed Clinical Social Worker with Ellie Mental Health October 10, 2023

Children absorb and take in many interactions throughout their days at school. I have heard numerous school-aged students express the unexpected exhaustion they experience as they return home from their seven-hour day. 

Students have described themselves as feeling guided and in motion while at school, and when they return to the familiarity of home, emotions flood. As a mental health therapist working with school-aged youth, I have conversations and ideas that may be helpful to families supporting their scholars. 

Assisting in Organization and Time Management

Much of what our children practice and bring into their lives comes from observing the adults around them. If there has been difficulty adjusting to what has passed so far this school year, a family meeting could be a positive direction. Consider sitting together while exploring successes and challenges.

Highlight the wins, no matter the significance. To assist your child in finding healthy organization and time management:

  • Discuss where school items can be stored in your home (a consistent space for a backpack, an iPad, after-school snacks, the family calendar, etc.), the use of technology on school days, the benefit of some routine (consider making a visual chart for young children), and when a recharging bedtime would be. 
  • Consider creating a homework area with natural lighting, tidiness, calming music, and hydration. As a caregiver, could you read, complete a crossword, or begin cooking dinner while your child completes homework? Could you assist in creating an intentional, welcoming, and quiet space and be ready to answer questions that come your way?

If the conversation becomes out of reach and you or your child experiences stress, consider connecting with their teacher for guidance. Advocating for your child's learning experience alongside them will model valuable life skills, such as self-advocacy, resiliency, curiosity, and perseverance. 

Finding Fuel

Food and hydration significantly impact regulation and healthy decision-making. I often recommend that students come into therapy sessions with a snack and hydration if this follows their school day. 

Students give much of their energy throughout their days at school socially, academically, and emotionally. Taking time to refuel allows your child to reset and recharge. 

Could Less Be More?

Following a chance to refuel, consider time for free play. Children benefit from time exploring and using their imagination. 

School routines often provide structure and direction, promoting the discovery and development of different life skills. This can feel quite effortful to a child and outside of their direct interests.

Allowing time for free play, even 30-45 minutes, will give your child more choice and a sense of control. 

Connection and Curiosity

When in doubt, get creative while checking in with your child when they return home from school. Validate feelings and offer emotional support.

Before using your superpowers to fix, brainstorm, and create change, validate the expressed feeling:

  • "I hear that you are feeling overwhelmed. Going to school is hard work, and I am proud of you." 
  • "I believe you when you say the school year has been stressful. I appreciate you sharing this with me."

After feelings are validated and intentionally observed, ask what your child needs to feel supported by you. Do we continue to listen and validate, begin to assist in prioritizing and organizing, or help to create a space to calm and recharge?

Consider normalizing that all humans are living and learning each day. Learning takes time and many trials and tribulations. Brains take in, create, and store information in different lights and directions for each of us. 

We are immensely proud of the learners of our future. As adults, if our best looks different each day, take a long, intentional breath and allow your child's best to be different each day as well. We will meet them where they are and come together to do what we can — and how wonderful is that? 


We are Ellie Mental Health, an exciting organization dedicated to changing the culture of mental health, located in the Denver Tech Center adjacent to The Landmark. 

We provide therapy that is creative, fun (yes, humor and even laughter can happen in therapy!), and centered around what works best for our clients. Our therapists are passionate about supporting Veterans and their families (we are a Veteran-owned and operated clinic), children and teens, pregnant people, first responders and health care providers, teachers, those with chronic health concerns, the LGBTQ+ community, neurodiverse folx, and anyone who has experienced trauma, grief, or loss. 

We are strongly committed to practicing culturally responsive and respectful therapies and are dedicated to being allies and advocates for those who have too often experienced otherwise. We provide therapy either in our cozy, beautiful clinic (there's coffee!) or through a video visit. Call (720) 706-1944 or visit us online to learn more about our therapists, services, payment options, and accepted insurance. 

We are welcoming new clients, ages two and older, with immediate availability for most. We would love to be supportive of you and your family. 

Ellie Mental Health of Colorful Colorado
7400 East Crestline Circle, Suite 145
Greenwood Village, CO 80111
New Clients: (720) 706-1944
Clinic Info: (720) 446-5430

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