Helping Kids Adjust as COVID-19 Restrictions Scale Back

A pediatric psychologist offers advice for helping kids adjust as COVID-19 restrictions start to scale back.

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CLEVELAND – Life before the pandemic is slowly start to return and that can be a big adjustment for kids who may not understand why the rules are now changing.

“The pandemic may be all the child may or may not know. But I think it’s important to remember that children — from toddler to adolescence — are resilient and in some cases, much more resilient than adults,” said Emily Mudd, PHD, pediatric psychologist for Cleveland Clinic Children’s.

Dr. Mudd sad some kids may take longer to adapt than others, which is normal. However, if they seem to be having a hard time, there are ways to help them cope.

For example, talk to them about how they’re feeling and offer reassurance. It’s also important to be a good role model for them. If they see you’re stressed out about not having to wear a mask anymore, they may get stressed out too.

Separation anxiety is another issue that has surfaced now that more parents are heading back to the office. She recommends developing a new routine with them while explain what’s happening in a way they’ll understand.

“If you’re going back to work and as a parent have been home most of the time, prepare your child for when that might happen, no matter how young they are. So talking about it, ‘This is when mom or dad is leaving, this is when I’ll be home.’ Keep those transition periods short, so the longer a goodbye is, the longer the child has to think about mom or dad leaving,” said Dr. Mudd.

She said if your child’s behavior has drastically changed and you are noticing a difference in their sleeping and eating habits, or they’re making vague complaints about not feeling well, you may want to consult with their pediatrician.

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