“These kids need love, support, understanding and dependability,” says Dr. Laura Hershorin, pictured above. Dr. Hershorin is a mom to a recent high-school grad and a Teladoc board-certified family physician with over 25 years of experience.

After a year that was like no other, kids and parents are getting ready for a new school year that thankfully looks a lot more normal than it did in 2020. But after living through the stress of the pandemic and virtual school, children have been through a lot. We asked Dr. Hershorin for her advice for parents of kids headed back to school.

Q: What are the primary health concerns to look out for as children head back to school in 2021?

A: While the obvious physical concerns of COVID-19, and the importance of avoiding contagion and bringing it home are key elements of this question, my mind turns more to the emotional toll of the pandemic on these kids. They have lost so much this past year.

In our family, we lost the entire senior year. The time when our child reached a level of maturity, a driver’s license enabling mobility and access to friends, the world and the social scene that was anticipated and promised was yanked away. No homecoming, no prom, no hanging out with friends. Instead, they got isolation, anxiety and horrible motivation struggles that triggered issues with self-esteem and self-confidence. That magical time that comes only once was stolen, and our family will not get it back. We should be celebrating the culmination of a coming of age, and instead we have pain in isolation. We are only one family, and this scene is playing out everywhere in one form or another, regardless of the grade level.

“Children cannot be fully healthy until they know we adults have their backs, understand their struggles and will be here for them always.”
Teladoc physician and mom Dr. Laura Hershorin

Some of the primary health concerns will be emotional. These kids need love, support, understanding and dependability in their lives.

  • They need teachers with arms stretched open, excited to receive them, and who understand that academic achievement can only thrive after reestablishing rhythms, routines, motivation, love of learning and self-confidence.
  • Parents need to understand that love and support trumps grades. They need to understand and express empathy for the loss. Reestablishing good work habits and engagement without anxiety are the goals.

Children cannot be fully healthy until they know we adults have their backs, understand their struggles and will be here for them always.

Q: In addition to getting a flu shot and the COVID-19 vaccine, how can parents boost immune systems during this back-to-school season?

A: This is about old-fashioned common sense. Our immune systems function best when we are well-rested, nourished, hydrated, active and when stress is managed. Routine, dependability and support will be paramount.

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Q: How does Teladoc help support families when it comes to back-to-school?

A: We’re there for parents by providing dependable, excellent care for them and their children, and to help them manage their own emotional and physical needs.

Teladoc also provides dependable information that is easily accessed. People can usually manage their lives and stress when they feel they have control. Control requires understanding and education, so life and circumstances feel less random.

Teladoc provides easy access to education on all kinds of topics. This includes vaccine concerns, how to handle everyday common illness without putting ourselves at risk of exposure to COVID-19 and sometimes just how to access healthcare resources in our community at a time when doctors are overwhelmed. Without these basics, parents won’t have the bandwidth to support students.

Get back-to-school support from Teladoc

Whether it’s a 2 a.m. fever or a rash on a field trip, get your kids back to school faster with high-quality care from doctors you can trust. For back-to-school or any other health concerns, reach out to schedule a Teladoc appointment online or by app 24/7 to speak with a Teladoc doctor.

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And for parental support with anxiety, stress or just not feeling like yourself, try virtual therapy. Choose a therapist or psychiatrist who fits your needs and schedule visits seven days a week from wherever you’re most comfortable.

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And before you start packing those bag lunches and setting the early morning alarms for school days, here are five ways to give your kids a safe, COVID-19-safe summer.

Published July 22, 2021.

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