The pandemic has taken a toll on everyone’s mental and physical health, but for our kids, the pandemic has disrupted their growth process. Children have been distanced from their friends and extended family, ceased many extracurricular activities, and experienced home-schooling for the first time. All of these changes take a toll on their development.
Everyone wants what is best for their child. During COVID lockdowns, that meant keeping them home to prevent them from getting the virus. Now that most children have returned to school, albeit with new masking and distancing rules, here are some ways you can help your child adjust to the “new normal” with advice from experts.
Christina Low Kapalu, PhD works at Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City as a Child Psychologist. She suggests explaining things that have changed and things that have stayed the same so that your kids are not confused, “Start by discussing how things are the same AND different. When things are changing so rapidly, it is important to highlight all the things that are staying the same. Children can still call friends, ride their bikes, hang out with immediate family members, practice their favorite activities and enjoy being outdoors. This helps to reinforce the aspects of daily life that are predictable and routine, things that help us to manage during these difficult times. Then, you can move on to discussing changes.”
Returning to this “new normal” can cause unwanted stress for your child as well. Doctor Linda Nicolotti with Brenner Children’s discusses ways to reduce stress in the family, “Spend family time together by playing games, going for a walk or a bike ride, or preparing a meal together. Get creative, and ask everyone to contribute ideas about how to spend enjoyable time together”
With all the new changes occurring, children are bound to get stressed out, and sometimes it is hard for them to communicate their emotions. Unicef discusses key ways to help calm kids down when they do get stressed out, “Take a break, when you start feeling angry, take a 20-second cool down. Breathe in and out slowly 5 times before you speak or move. Go somewhere else for 10 minutes to regain control of your emotions. If you have safe outdoor space, go outside.”
At the end of the day, family is what is most important, and making sure your kids are alright. Hopefully, these tips can offer you a little support in returning back to “new normal” life with your children.
Contributed by Carrie Davis