If your child has been away from school since March - maybe stuck indoors, dealing with homeschooling, frustrated at not being able to see friends and family, or enduring time with siblings who don't get along - coming out of lockdown could be an exciting time. For others maybe not so. Fear of Covid-19, having to readjust to a school environment, and adapting to the "new normal" could lead to stress, anxiety or even depression.
Here are five things you can do to support your child during the process of coming out of lockdown:
- If you haven’t done so, talk through the changes to the lockdown restrictions. Ask them how they’re feeling and what they’re thinking about. Tell them it’s okay to feel scared or unsure. Try to answer their questions and reassure them in an age-appropriate way. It’s difficult to know all the answers because the situation is still changing with lots of mixed messages, but talking things through can help children feel calmer and reassured.
- It's important to remind them that the rules are a good thing, designed to keep everyone safe. Help them to remain positive and hopeful that things will go back to normal soon.
- Engaging in positive activities with your child such as reading, playing, painting or cooking can give them a break from any worries they have. You might also use the time to casually talk through their concerns without needing a separate ‘big conversation’.
- We all thrive on routine and so do children. Try to maintain a routine to help them feel safe and secure. Adjusting to new circumstances takes time and it is likely to be a gradual process. Regular catch-ups will help you address any worries or feelings of being overwhelmed. Making small journeys/trips to meet individual family members or friends might be a good starting point.
- Seek support if you need it. Transitioning out of lockdown is not easy for anyone. If you or your child are experiencing pressure or stress, Darlington Mind provides a confidential helpline where you can get things off your chest and access support in the form of practical advice, counselling, and techniques to help you cope and move forward.
For information and to access support please Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, Telephone: 07432 843161 or visit our Services & Support section where we have lots of services that might be of interest to you.