Tips to help your child adjust to life after lockdown
People in Melbourne have endured nearly 300 days of lockdown over the last two years! This has had a big impact on the mental health and wellbeing of children and young people, as reported by the CCYP. It is great to now begin the transition back to ‘normal’ life, with children returning to school, spending time with friends, and loved ones. However, this post-COVID world may prove difficult for some children.
There are a range of reasons children may feel anxious or hesitant to return to life post-COVID. These may include:
Ongoing anxiety around COVID, and worries about the safety of themselves and their family.
The impact of ongoing uncertainty – not knowing if holidays and plans can go ahead.
Worries about following a new set of rules, or existing rules changing, such as mask wearing and social distancing.
Anxiety about being separated from primary carers after spending so much time with caregivers during lockdowns.
Mixed feelings about being social due to long periods of time being separated from peers.
The good news is there are some simple things we can do to help support children during this time. The Kids Helpline has developed a really useful resource to support families. Some of their top tips include:
Be curious. Ask questions your child has to give a longer answer to, and not just ‘yes’/’no’. Then actively listen to understand more about your child’s thoughts and feelings.
Create a plan around activities that involve leaving the home. Talk about what is coming up before it happens, then make lists about ways to manage the event. If it is a big event, try planning for short visits that then expand into longer visits. That way you are not putting an expectation to cope with long periods outside of the house.
Take small steps to re-integrate into society. Some fears can be alleviated with small, controlled exposures. For instance, a great first step might be a quick trip to the supermarket, or organising for your child to meet and hangout with one friend in a park.
Headspace has also developed a tip sheet with practical tips and useful resources to help families support each other through this time.
It is normal for both adults and children to feel uneasy as life slowly returns to normal, so remember to be kind to yourself and reach out for support for yourself or your child if needed.
We are always here to support your child's communication skills, and will do what we can to ensure they are reaching their communication potential.