Even with stay at home orders easing, life is anything but normal right now.
“If you go from zero to sixty it’s going to feel really overwhelming,” licensed therapist Jody Baumstein said.
Even if children are looking forward to getting back out in the world, it can still be hard.
“I think just recognizing it’s a completely normal response to change — there’s nothing wrong with you if you feel nervous about going back,” Baumstein said.
A common sign of stress in children is anxiety, which can look different depending on the age of the child.
“When you look under the surface they’re having some racing thoughts or are thinking a lot about safety and that’s consuming them and making them a little bit distracted, but it doesn’t mean they’re trying to be difficult,” Baumstein said.
Younger children may regress in behavior or have unexplained headaches or stomach aches to avoid leaving the house. Baumstein says help children identify what they’re feeling and let them know what to expect and what they might see that’s different, like face masks.
Baumstein encourages asking open ended questions to get them talking then validating the feelings to let them know it’s normal and don’t dismiss what’s being felt — work with them on how to cope.
Those are skills they can use the rest of their lives.