States reopen and people are easing back into routines

Posted at 5:30 PM, Jun 05, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-05 19:30:27-04

Even with stay-at-home orders easing, life is anything but normal right now. This is especially true for children, but there are ways you can help them adjust.

"If you go from zero to sixty it's going to feel really overwhelming." said Jody Baumstein, licensed therapist.

Baumstein, who works with Children's Healthcare of Atlanta Strong4Life, says to ease back into it all says "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."

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," said Baumstein. "But it doesn't mean they're trying to be difficult."

Younger children may regress in behavior, or have unexplained headaches or stomachaches to avoid leaving the house. Baumstein says help children identify what they are feeling, let them know what to expect and what they might see that is different, like face masks. Ask open ended questions to get them talking. Then validate the feelings, let them know it is normal, and don't dismiss what is being felt.

Work with them on how to cope, as those are skills they can use the rest of their lives.