By: Yemi Alade, Pharmacy Manager at Yurek Specialties Limited
After surviving lockdowns, school closures and remote work caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, families are starting to realign their daily routines from constantly at home together to returning to schools, day-cares and offices. Children will need to adjust again to being away from their parents for periods of time during the day. An adjustment that may result in separation anxiety, and fears of not being safe due to Covid-19.
Separation anxiety occurs when children, usually between six months to three years, are faced with short periods of separation from their parent, or when facing new situations. It often results in crying and clingy behaviour and is a normal part of development. However, the pandemic has affected this ordinary course of events and now, as children begin or return to school, both younger and older children may experience this separation anxiety as well as nervousness over possible exposure to the virus.
Helping your child through this transition will take time and planning. Here are some tips:
- Listen to your child – talk about their concerns and use play-acting and picture drawing to show what the return will look like.
- Help them prepare – review the new rules for school and inform the teacher of any significant concerns
- Keep calm – children take their cues from you
- Have a “leaving” plan – keep it short and positive. Announce when you leave and remind them of when you will return. Do not hesitate when leaving and return only at the agreed upon time. Maintain this routine consistently.
- Reassure them about school safety measures and review any changes they may experience. Remind them that they can get involved with others at their own pace.
- Be proactive but calm and let your children express their emotions and concerns freely.