First, our children had to adapt to a drastic change in lifestyle – they had to stay indoors, they had to stay away from people when outside, they weren’t allowed to go to school – and now after weeks and months of getting used to this, we are now asking them to adapt again. The thing is, this time, we don’t know what we are asking them to adapt to. So how can we make this easier for them? How can we help them adjust? If you want to know how to help your children adjust to life after lockdown, here are our top tips.
Tip #1 – give them space to share their fears
It’s important that your children feel that they can come to you with any worry they have, no matter how small or big or ‘silly’ it may be, so help them to feel that way. Maybe you could schedule in ‘worry time’ every day as a family? You can just share your worries or you can write them down and throw them away.
Tip #2 – be aware of what they see & hear
Be very aware that your children may hear you talking with other adults or while you’re on the phone and what you say may have an effect on them. It’s also important to know how your children are getting their news, especially older children who are online. Show them the right sites to check where they know that the information is factual and limit their exposure to it every day. The news can be scary, especially now.
Tip #3 – help them focus on control & safety
The Coronavirus is making a lot of changes, changes that make us feel very out of control and anxious as a result. To help your children adjust to life after lockdown, think about ways you can help them feel in control and safe. Things like washing their hands well, exercising and eating healthily to keep them strong, and wearing a mask when they need to.
Tip #4 – talk about all the safety measures
Positivity and reassurance are key to helping your children feel better so talk about all the safety measures and the things that are being done to keep everyone safe. You can talk about what the schools are doing to keep them safe, how doctors and nurses are prepared to treat people who get sick, and how scientists are working to develop a vaccine.
Tip #5 – let them feel what they feel
Don’t dismiss your children’s feelings. Talk about them and let them know that they are normal and that a lot of other people are feeling the same way. What this does is that it teaches them that stressful times pass and life goes on; it teaches them to be resilient.
Tip #6 – take small steps initially
Some children may be comfortable with going outdoors and getting back to school but others may be a lot more anxious. However your children are feeling, take it slow. Ease them into the next stage of the pandemic step by step. This will help them adjust at their own pace rather than doing everything all at once.
Help your children adjust to life after lockdown
Helping our children adjust back to ‘normal’ life is going to take time. It may take more time with some than others but if you listen to your children’s fears, then you’ll know just how slowly you’ll have to take the steps to move forward.
There are many things that you can do to reassure and guide your children during this time, but we personally feel that the most important step is to let your children know that what they are feeling is normal and that it’s okay.