SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 News) – Navigating the new school year can be tough. Especially if you have to decide if your kid is going to school, or will learn from home. We know mental health will be top of mind starting school in the pandemic.

ABC4 News caught up with Sherry Anderson who a lot of parents can relate to. She and her husband have full-time jobs. They have four children who are in grade school through high school. And, they are preparing for remote learning.

“There is just so much to try and keep track of,” she said.

Psychologists say acknowledging things will be hard while kids are remote learning. They suggest a ‘do it together attitude’ to help ease stress.

If your child is just not listening to you, you may want to listen to them.

“Really sit down and talk to them and ask them what they are experiencing, ask them how they feel about things, and listen,” said Primary Children’s Hospital Psychologist Dr. Annie Deming.

Many parents are worried about their children’s mental health. When school starts doctors say to pay attention to children’s increased irritability or mood changes.

“They just so need to be heard and listened too, and I think that is going to help overall with their mental health,” said the doctor.

Parents you’ll need to look out for your mental health too.

“Take breaks when you need too. Do lots of self-care, get lots of support from friends and family, making sure you are taking care of yourself is so important,” said Dr. Deming. “Just do those little breaks throughout the day, rather than feeling like I have to set aside hours for self-care.”

The professionals say look for special rewards like crafting where kids can create something, and parents can admire for years to come.

Another thing parents may want to consider is adjusting their kid’s screen time. Look for opportunities using Facetime or ZOOM Meetings where kids can interact with each other so they can socialize.

Anderson said, “You know if this is the best and safest way to socialize, that’s what we got to do right now. That’s kind of the new norm.”

For parents who have to choose to send their kids to school or have them stay home for remote learning, there is one thing Dr. Deming recommends, “Feel confident that you are doing the right thing for your kids. Even if it is not the same thing as your neighbors are doing, or your friend is doing. You make a decision for your family and then move forward confidently.”

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