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Nurturing your child's mental health as they head back to school

A child psychologist offers advice for parents as kids go back to school.

MINNEAPOLIS — "There's a lot that's unknown".

Dr. Sarah Jerstad is a child psychologist with Children's Minnesota

She says getting your kids mentally ready to head back to school can have a lot to do with how they see their parents maneuvering all this uncertainty. 

"Usually we're used to having plans and having things set and I think if parents can model acceptance of change it's just a great way to get their kids ready for the school year," Dr. Jerstad says.

She says it's great to be excited about going back to school and also important to prep your kids for how this year will look a little different. 

Things like explaining to them what social distancing looks like, washing their hands, and practicing wearing a mask. 

"Give them a sense of control. Which mask do you want to wear? Do you want one that has your favorite character on it or something like that?" says Dr. Jerstad.

Sarah says it's important to check in with your kids emotionally and give them space to express what they might be feeling. Also, recognize that there can also be opportunities to celebrate the good that's happening in their life, too. 

"This doesn't have to be something that can always be stressful. I think a great habit that parents can kind of remind their kids to do, maybe each day or each week, is talk about what are you grateful for or what do you think you've learned through this difficult time that has helped you grow?" she says.

Remind them that they're resilient as they step into a very different school year.