Getting Back To Normal? Not So Fast.

Family Counseling Insights brought to you by California Psychotherapeutic Resources, Inc.

For the last several months the idea of getting back to normal has been like a tantalizing dream. But as more and more people became vaccinated that dream has steadily turned into reality. Many people, though, especially kids, have felt an odd sense of anxiety as they returned to once-normal activities. What’s going on?

A child waiting for the school bus

According to Julia Burch, PhD, writing for the MaginationPressFamily website, “The return to in-person activities — particularly mandatory school — also brings a host of worries and uncertainties for children and parents alike. In particular, many introverted or anxious kids have come to feel more comfortable staying home during the pandemic and have had few opportunities to practice getting out of their comfort zone.”

What can you do to prepare your kids to get back to school and other group activities? Try these helpful practices, says Burch.

  • Re-establish routines: Kids love routines and feel more comfortable when they know what to expect.
  • Talk about it: Parents might think it’s best to just go back to normal as if the pandemic lockdown never happened. Nope – let your kids openly talk about what they fear and ask questions about it.
  • Make a plan to face fears: Once you know if your child is anxious about a particular situation, break it down into small parts and face each step separately.
  • Encourage helpful ‘self talk’: Get your kids to make a positive statement to themselves (“I can handle this”) rather than something negative.
  • Be a courage coach: Kids pick up on a parent’s attitude and often imitate it — stay calm and cheerful even if you’re more frightened than your child.

For a more in-depth discussion of each tip, see Burch’s full article here.