Helping kids transition to life after the pandemic

Posted at 3:30 PM, Apr 23, 2020

For many Americans, these past few weeks have been about balancing working from home, helping kids with school work, and trying to find peace in what has been an unprecedented time.

"Even just the structure of our lives is completely different. We’ve lost all of our usual support and things that just help us function as families," said Laura Anthony, PhD, a psychologist at the Children's Hospital Colorado.

Anthony says this quarantine can have a big effect on kids. They might be feeling new emotions like grief. They’re not able to participate in sports, clubs, or outside of school activities, and that can be a real loss for kids. But there are some things you can do to make sure your family is getting through this tough time, especially as we begin to transition back to life that might look little different than before the pandemic.

"I think your first response as a parent is to just check in with your kid. ‘Is there anything you’re worried about? Anything you’ve been thinking about? What’s happening in your mind these days?’ Do those frequent mental health check-ins with your kids," said Anthony.

She said look for behavior that is sustained. If anxiety or sadness get so extreme that your kids really aren’t functioning anymore, that’s when it’s time to reach out to a professional.

"I expect we’re going to have a lot of reaching out in the days to come, when it feels like we’re reaching past the crisis stage and into the 'this is how it’s just going to be for a long time'. I think that can be particularly hard on kids," said Anthony.

But there aren’t just negative feelings from this. As we go through the pandemic, she says it’s an opportunity to build resilience.

"If you want to try to look at the brighter side, I don’t think we’re going to have a whole generation of kids who are permanently damaged. What I think we’re going to have is a whole generation of kids who are really resilient," said Anthony.

And even though most social interaction is through technology, Anthony doesn't think that will have a long standing impact on this generation of kids.