The Bark Blog                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                
one teenage girl who looks happy, one teenage boy who looks sad Mental Health

Back to School: The Highs and Lows for Families

Haley Zapal  |  August 29, 2023

one teenage girl who looks happy, one teenage boy who looks sad

As we approach September, back-to-school season is in full swing all across the country. Whether it’s going swimmingly or your family is encountering some hiccups, there’s one that’s true — back to school is always a bit of an adjustment. 

But like everything in life, there are good parts and bad parts, and for kids this is doubly true — especially in the age of social media and smartphones. In this blog post, we’ll go over the highs and lows that families can expect from this back-to-school season.

The Highs of Back to School

Getting a fresh start

Whether it’s a brand new school or just a new teacher, another school year brings with it the chance to wipe the slate clean. If your kid struggled last year — or even if they absolutely crushed it! — having an opportunity to press the restart button can help them approach the new school year with an open mind and an optimistic attitude. 

Making new friends

Kids won’t realize it until they’re older and graduated, but school is one of the best times in your life to make friends. You’re with the same group of people for big chunks of time and you see them a lot, sharing experiences and memories. Even if your child doesn’t become best friends with everyone, they'll have a community of peers to laugh and relate to. And sometimes, kids DO meet their best friends in a class, and it’s magic. 

Getting back into routines

Summer can be full of long road trips, late night Netflix marathons, and rowdy sleepover parties. With the return of the school year comes a more structured approach to life — early wakeups, commutes, the school day, homework time, dinner, and rest. It may not seem like it when you hear your kid lament the loss of summer, but kids actually crave routine. It gives them security and a sense of normalcy to know what they’re doing and when each day.

Joining clubs

There’s more to school than just academics, which is why joining clubs and participating in extracurriculars is such an important part of the school year. It doesn’t matter what your child’s interests are — from football to gaming and robotics, there are after-school activities for every kid. These clubs teach responsibility, augment your child’s socialization skills, and provide another way to help them become well-rounded young adults. 

The Lows of Back to School

Worrying about school violence

For kids and parents alike, the return to the classroom revives fears of senseless acts of violence. These fears can cause anxiety and depression in young people, especially when schools hold drills to practice in case of emergency. Here’s how to talk to your child about their fears – now’s a stressful time to be a kid. 

Dreading Bullying

Cyberbullying isn’t like the bullying we grew up with — it can happen anywhere, any time of day. Last year we found that 71.2% of tweens and 83.3% of teens experienced bullying as a bully, victim, or witness, which means that’s more than just common. It’s rampant. 

Fearing the unknown

We mentioned the positive aspect of wiping the slate clean for a new school year. For some kids, this prospect is frightening! It’s especially scary if you’re starting a new school, like transitioning from elementary to middle school. Not knowing the teachers, the school layout, and being brand new to a student body can be super overwhelming! The good news is that many of these fears will disappear as soon as your child finishes their first week and is more comfortable with their new surroundings. 

Waking up early

Even though we know that kids do better with routines, that doesn’t stop the ongoing morning wake-up battle in many houses. Fortunately, there are some strategies to get the most of the early hours! Here are some tips to get your family on track in the morning. And an even better way is to be proactive — getting a good night’s sleep is half the battle.

Feeling more anxious 

Sometimes it can be overwhelming for kids to keep up with it all — grades, assignments, peer pressure, and so much more. While making good grades can be rewarding, be sure to have realistic expectations on your child's workload and also work to help them balance it by checking in with reminders on studying and project timeframes. Scheduling doesn't always come naturally to all students, so helping to set them up for success definitely helps. Also, slumps happen! So be sure to be their safe landing place to ask questions and offer solutions when they’re feeling overwhelmed.

How Bark Can Help

When parents gear up for back-to-school, Bark is a great tool to add to the toolbelt! Parents can use Bark to create those new screen time schedules and manage when kids can use certain apps throughout the day, helping to keep kids focused on learning. 

Our content monitoring can help you keep an eye on what’s going on in your child’s digital world. Bark scans texts, emails, and social media for potential dangers like bullying, online predators, suicidal ideation, and more. You’ll get an alert if something concerning is found. 

Bark also comes with app & website blocking and location tracking for greater peace of mind. Start your free, one-week trial today of our app.

And if you’re interested in a phone that does it all plus a ton of additional incredible features, the Bark Phone will change how you think about kids’ phones — and parents can’t stop talking about it. 

Bark helps families manage and protect their children’s digital lives.

mother and daughter discussing Bark Parental Controls