Cleveland, OH

How to help your children adjust as COVID-19 restrictions diminish

Angela Kervorkian-Wattle
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CLEVELAND, OH — As life before the pandemic gradually returns, the transition can be difficult for children who may not understand why the rules are 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, Ph.D., a pediatric psychologist for Cleveland Clinic Children’s.

Children have different paces to adjust to their surroundings. According to Dr. Mudd, some kids may take longer to adapt than others, which is normal. However, if they appear to be struggling, there are ways to help them cope.

An example, discuss their feelings with them and offer reassurance. It is also critical that you serve as a positive role model for them. They may become stressed if they notice you are upset about not having to wear a mask anymore.

Separation anxiety is another issue that has emerged now that more parents are returning to work. She suggests creating a new routine with them while explaining what’s going on in a way they’ll understand.

“If you’re going back to work and as a parent has 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 added if your child’s behavior has significantly changed and you notice a difference in their sleeping and eating habits. If they make vague complaints about not feeling well, you should consult with their pediatrician.

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