What your kid might not be telling you about being back in school

Most children have returned to in-person learning, and counselors are seeing plenty of adjustment challenges. Here’s how parents can help.

When counselor Lydia McNeiley greeted the eighth graders returning to Charles N. Scott Middle School in Hammond, Indiana, this August, she couldn’t believe how tall they looked. “They’ve grown a foot since the last time I saw them,” says McNeiley, who—like school counseling staff across the country—had to do most of her work online last year.

Virtual check-ins had their limits. And, of course, because students had been living through a global pandemic, their needs were greater than ever. Parents lost jobs, families lost homes, and far too many children lost loved ones. That’s a lot for developing brains to process, she notes, especially while physically separated from friends and other support networks.

So, along with their backpacks and growth spurts, students

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