Parents are urged to monitor children’s mental health as students return to school.

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BOSTON – Students are entering their third year of the pandemic, and entering the school year without knowing what to expect is stressful.

Dr. Donna Hausman, a psychologist specializing in child development and early childhood education, joins WBZ-TV with some tips for parents to take control of their children’s mental health.

“We are all concerned about what this time means for our little ones, many who have only known life during the pandemic,” Husman said. “Ongoing disruption, everyday changes and the pull of social systems have left many children with delays in their emotional, social and cognitive development.”

Hausman said that the first 1,000 days of a child’s life are critical for brain development, and a large number of young children have lived 900 days in an epidemic of high stress.

“That’s why now more than ever we need to help children learn how to manage their emotions from birth. What happens at a young age can make a lasting difference,” she said.

The key, according to Houman, is for parents and teachers to be vigilant and know how to read signs.

Children grow up with changing habits and predictions. Hausmann said their feelings should be acknowledged and validated.

Howman says adults should ask children open-ended “what and why” questions. In addition, Husman said that because children learn by watching, parents should first be aware of their own feelings and have a model of stability.

Howman said parents should trust their gut and intervene early or talk to a pediatrician or teacher if they have any concerns.

“The importance of teachers and parents responding to children’s needs and feelings cannot be overstated,” Husman said.

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