Luisa Williams, CEO & Founder from My Family Psychologist joins us on the blog with her advice on how to help children reintegrate back into the world post lockdown.
There is no denying the impact that Covid-19 has had across the nation but it has particularly affected our children.
From talking to parents and friends, some children have adapted better than others. For some, they have experienced anxiety and a sense of uncertainty, especially when it comes to knowing what is expected of them.
As lockdown restrictions start to ease up, parents are left wondering how to make children feel as safe and calm as possible.
It is important that children are supported when entering this ‘new normal’ that the government keep telling us about. It may feel like there is a long way to go until we resume a sense of ‘normality’, however, we need to ask the question:
What we can do as parents to support our children as they take the next steps into their new routines?
Here are some tips on how to help children reintegrate back into the world post lockdown.
Educate yourself and get yourself up to date with any changes to guidelines before discussing this with your child.
Get your information from reliable sources. Check with www.gov.uk and the BBC for updates on any guidance. These are updated regularly to help parents ensure that they have all the necessary information.
Explain to your child about lockdown restrictions and what these mean. Explain that some things may be different and that it is not something that they need to be afraid of. Ask them if they understand and encourage them to ask questions. They don’t need to know everything; just keep it appropriate for the age of the child.
Reassure them that it is okay to feel worried or anxious. Ask them to keep a diary about how they are feeling or a worry jar where they can put questions in that they may have. This will encourage them to reflect on how they are feeling. Remind them that the rules that are in place are to keep us safe and that ‘now is not forever’.
Start getting them back into a routine.
During the lockdown, it is likely that their pre-COVID daily routine has been thrown out of the window and they may be getting up later and going to bed later. Gradually introduce earlier bedtimes and waking up times, especially as they get closer to their school return date. This will encourage a sense of normalcy.
Start going out for walks or to places where they may see other people so that they get used to being outside of the home environment. Many children may have opted to stay inside during the pandemic so may find it hard to be around people they don’t know. Get your children used to seeing people wearing masks and PPE and encourage them that this what some people are choosing to do in order to keep others safe.
Give children a choice to pick out a face mask so that they feel like they are wearing something they like. With new rules coming into place about wearing masks when shopping, the idea may feel uncomfortable to children as it can be restrictive. Check out sites such as www.amazon.co.uk where they have a selection of child-friendly masks to choose from.
Spend quality time with your children doing something positive.
This will help take a break from any anxieties they may have. This will also give you an opportunity to talk to your child and gives them a safe space to talk if they so wish to.
Encourage your children in a ‘routine’ of good hygiene. Washing their hands regularly when needed to the point where it becomes second nature rather than a strict regime. This will help make them less afraid and more mindful of looking after themselves. If your child is particularly health-conscious or has health anxiety, get a little pack together for them with things such as hand sanitizer, tissues and pocket wipes.
Encourage your children to think positively about what they are looking forward to in the future to reinforce a future-focused approach. Discuss what they may want to do in the future or where they may want to go. Make some plans with your child or children.
Get in touch
If you would like more advice on how to help children reintegrate back into the world post lockdown and find that your child or family members are experiencing anxiety post-lockdown and feel that they need some more support, please get in touch with My Family Psychologist and see how we can help. We work with children, parents and families to offer support when it is needed most, especially during these difficult times.
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