How Can we Help Kids Continuing to Struggle with the Pandemic?
One fact that parents, teachers, pediatricians and psychologists can generally agree on is that kids of all ages do their best when there are routines and structures in their life. This past year has thus undoubtedly been difficult on some level for most children, even if they were seemingly able to adjust well to their new normal. Sure there are some silver linings that have been found, but as restrictions loosen, most families are genuinely excited to slowly re-open their social circles and many to have their kids return to “in-person school” (which wasn’t even a phrase before last March!)
While many kids will outwardly be very excited to get back to school to see their friends, it’s likely that they will have some anxieties and fears as well. After all, they have not been allowed to socialize, so it is important to help them to understand why it is safer now, but that some precautions are still necessary. Kids in their early adolescence (who hopefully will soon be able to be vaccinated!) will understand more specifically how the vaccine campaign is keeping them safer, while younger kids may be able to grasp the concept enough to trust their parents are keeping them safe. Even if they had never had trouble being away from their parents before, kids may have separation anxiety after a year of being at home 24/7, so make sure to assess their needs and support their emotional state by checking in more frequently. Sticking to routines will also help them adjust more smoothly. Do your best to keep them in the loop about news or updates, but avoid letting them take in too much media or news that could make them worry. Finally, it’s important to remember that masking, social distancing and washing your hands are still the mainstays that will keep us safe and allow us to continue loosening restrictions.
If you’re looking for ways to help curb fears and anxieties (whether they are your own or your children’s), you might find this article from healthline to be a good resource. Please reach out to your pediatrician if you feel that your child is struggling or having difficulty adjusting, we are always here to help!
Jackie Phillips, MD, April 20, 2021