Post-pandemic mental health is an issue that affects everyone – children and adults alike. As children transition into social activities like summer camp, playdates, summer school, and sports, it’s important to be mindful of their emotions during this time. It’s difficult for grown-ups to verbalize how we’re feeling about wearing masks or not, touching and hugging people, and interacting within a six-foot radius. For children, it is nearly impossible.
Kids’ reactions tell us a lot about how they feel in social situations, but they don’t tell the whole story. A child may outwardly appear happy to be among his friends again but inside be riddled with conflicted feelings of uncertainty, safety, and fear – residual lessons learned during the past year. Parents – who, it needs to be stated, have never experienced a global pandemic themselves – struggle to ensure their children are “okay” after COVID-19. It’s a complex issue that will ripple into the years ahead. But, we are not without tools to mitigate the possible damage or the knowledge to aim for a happier and healthier tomorrow.
Let’s also remind ourselves daily that everyone is doing the best we can with the information we have. This is a period of transition unlike any that the universal “we” have ever experienced. It’s tempting to beat ourselves up as parents, partners, and people, but it feels better to lift ourselves and one another up. We didn’t get through the pandemic alone, and we most certainly will not transition to healthy post-pandemic mental health alone, either.
Easing the Post-Pandemic Transition for Kids by Brandon Duft, MD at Kaiser Permanente Northwest’s Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, explains what parents should be aware of and shares steps they can take to help smooth the transition. We hope you’ll take a moment to read it and share your thoughts on our Facebook page today!