As we all adjust to our new normal, how do we meet the specific needs of young children?
Young growing minds learn through repetition. Learning happens when children feel safe and believe that the adults in their lives will take care of them. A difficult ask of some parents as we come into our post pandemic lives. Schools often send children home with the slightest sniffle or cough. I have a private music student who is regularly sent home from school due to allergies. The young student has never had covid, but has to test for it on a regular basis to return to school, disrupting both the child and the parents’ normal routine.
What can parents do? Provide reassurance with a routine home schedule for your child. There will be days you can’t, and that’s fine. Everyone needs to learn to calmly handle unanticipated situations. If you can keep the basic family schedule consistent your child will be able to anticipate what comes next.
For example, a regular bedtime and wake up time meets your child’s expectations, even if they complain about it. Taking away that structure not only makes everyone tired, but also adds unnecessary stress to your child’s life – making it impossible for a child to predict when they can stay up and when they can’t. It’s not about random rule following. It’s about a child being able to understand expectations. Constant random surprises are the enemy of a calm mind.
Control what you can control, and roll with surprise situations. Good life skills for parents and children.
If your child is overly anxious, that’s a different problem all together. Here are some ideas for dealing with anxiety in children…