Your child might feel anxious about going back into a world that used to seem unsafe. You can boost your child’s sense of emotional safety to help them navigate life as things slowly re-open. For children who are prone to higher levels of anxiety, transitions and change are difficult
Have an age-appropriate, open conversation with your child about their thoughts and feelings. Explain furthermore why things are beginning to reopen again such as adults are being vaccinated so the chance of getting covid is smaller. If the lines of communication are already open, your child will be more likely to turn to you when questions arise.
It can be scary to go from staying at home all day which had been associated with staying safe to slowly reintegrating back into the world which had been associated with people getting sick. Ensure that your children understand ways to keep themselves safe in public so that they can feel a sense of agency in their world as they re-enter. That includes guidelines for safe socializing with friends.
Stay positive and model emotional regulation
Explain that any and all feelings are normal when returning. It is okay to feel scared, anxious, or excited. You can say: “I am also anxious about going back to work, but whenever I get stressed, I talk to my best friend, then I take three deep breaths, and I think of all the people that are working hard to keep me safe.”
Remind them of the positives such as getting to see more friends in-person and being able to engage in their favourite activities again.
If your child’s school is offering in person learning again or if sports and activities are resuming, it would be great to remind them of what their daily schedule used to be. Making sticky notes as reminders and putting them where visible, will be helpful. Review their schedule together so they know what to expect when going back to in person gatherings. Provide them with a structure that supports that routine so your children can get back into the habit of going to school, team sports and activities without much stress or worries. Your child’s routine at school or in sports might have changed, so if that is the case, please review any new changes with them often, so that they can mentally prepare for it.
Some signs and symptoms of distress are a normal part of adjusting to a transition. This can show as changes in your child’s sleep or appetite, increased irritability, or decreased independence and should subside as your child adapts. However, when these signs and symptoms begin to interfere with a child’s ability to function, consider contacting a mental health professional.