6 ways to ease your child back into the real world
With almost half of all adults vaccinated and the start of the spring weather, it really does feel like better times are on the way.
Many of us can't wait for things to get back to normal but, for some children, stepping back into real life may feel daunting. The Young Minds organisation reports that half of all UK parents are concerned for their children's mental health. So, what can we do to help support their transition back to real life?
1. Rebuild friendships
Now is the time to arrange park playdates, picnics and garden dates. The Mental Health Foundation says that many children will have lacked a vital source of peer support in managing the stresses of the pandemic. Social distancing measures and a lack of seeing friends mean that many children will need to rebuild friendships. This may feel awkward at first, but nothing that some trips to park after school can't fix.
2. Try some organised fun
Let's face it, the past two school holidays have been a write-off. The Christmas holiday was spent largely on Zoom and February half-term was more of the same! The upcoming school holidays present a chance for children to try something new outside of the home environment while making new friends. This summer more than ever, many organisations will be offering a whole range of activities which will help children get back to enjoying life with friends, so do keep an eye on local websites. Our Perform holiday courses focus on confidence building fun, allowing children to express themselves through drama, dance and singing, which we hope will be just the tonic children need this summer.
3. Reignite enthusiasm
The stress of lockdown was persistent and ongoing - even the word 'lockdown' can sound scary to a child. It's therefore no wonder that children may have temporarily lost a version of their old selves during this time. Parents frequently talk about kids lying on the sofa, not even encouraged out for that treasured 'daily exercise'. Whilst a radical change to a new and exciting routine is likely not the best idea, why not ask your child to list all of the pre-lockdown things they've missed and make a plan to do one each week?
4. Get out and about
With the promise of summer comes the dream of being outdoors - and for a whole day! Take a trip to the seaside, book a boat down the river or arrange a walk in the country and maybe even a run through a field. It's time for children (and parents!) to feel free again, and, as physical exercise may have suffered in lockdown, take advantage of doing something that gets you out of the house for a good chunk of time with perhaps even an outdoor lunch.
5. Bring back the joy
While parents have been juggling work, homeschooling and the usual domestic chores, children have witnessed the stresses and strains of an unusual time at home. As we return back to normal, it's important to reinstate some of the boundaries which separate home and school and allow children to remember their home as a place for fun and relaxation. So, whether your thing is to sing and dance, jump on the trampoline or have a kitchen disco, try and wave goodbye to the homeschool corner and make home feel relaxing again.
6. Hang on to the good things!
Many families discovered new things during lockdown which they have chosen to continue. For some it was board games or Kahoot quizzes, for others it was online chess or baking. What's yours? Rather than rushing back to life as it was pre-Covid, a more gradual transition may be beneficial to those children who may be feeling a little unsure about the return to a bustling life. Maybe online chess is better after all?
Perform's weekly classes and holiday courses focus on boosting a child's confidence through encouraging self-expression and physical exercise all whilst making new friends. Try a FREE class.