Most of us have been hiding away like hobbits since March, becoming ever more socially avoidant in the process. It’s no wonder that many of our children are facing severe anxiety about returning to the outside world, whatever that may look like. SEND and uncertainty are not usually the best of friends and right now it seems none of us can avoid change and precarious unpredictability. So how can we help our children to cope with these difficulties, even as we struggle ourselves as parent-carers.
1 It’s not a race
Just because you can do something doesn’t mean you have to do it, or that it has to be done right now. Take your time to think things through decide when to try new things at a pace that suits you and them.
2 Plan for Sensory Overload
If your family has been in a very quiet, low sensory environment for the last 3 months then adapting to life outside of the home will bring a whole range of sensory experiences that can quickly overwhelm. Think about where you will take a break before you go out and how you can minimise sudden sensory explosions. You don’t want to feel like you’ve walked into a firework factory with a match on day one so look for your ear defenders, sunglasses, chew toys, noise-cancelling headphones and whatever you know will help your child cope. Take new experiences slowly if you can, it’s better to do a small thing well than attempt trip to Bristol Zoo on a sunny Saturday with a coach load of toddlers.
3 You’re not alone
Although you may have been isolated in person from friends and family, remember that we are all in this together. Families at Incredible Kids can access our online closed Facebook group to reach out for support. Don’t be afraid to ask others how they are feeling, chances are they will be having the same worries and anxieties.
4 Decide what feels right for your family
There is lots of advice out there about how to live post-lockdown including this great podcast. Only you and your family can decide what’s right for you. Whether you want to go to Aldi head to toe in PPE or chose quieter places to start and go mask free – you will need to choose what feels right for you. There will be many decisions to make and discussing each of them as a family, or taking advantage of the many social stories and advice will help you decide. If you or your child are feeling highly anxious about coronavirus then seek advice and arm yourself with the facts.