As parents, we’re naturally conditioned to worry about our kids. Our concern has been heightened by COVID-19 and the complications to our daily life that have occurred as a result of the pandemic. Now, on top of all our normal worries regarding our kids, we have to worry about social distancing, virus exposure, and the effect of this pandemic on our child’s socialization. That’s a lot for any parent to handle.
One major concern many parents have is the effect social distancing is going to have on their child’s socialization. Just the other day, a friend of mine who has a young toddler was very worried about her child’s social skills after being at home with just their immediate family for the past ten months. She was wondering if that child would know how to share and be kind to other children once they can reenter the social world again?
Many Parents Are Concerned About Their Kids’ Socialization During COVID-19
As a child therapist, I have heard similar concerns from parents with children of all ages. Elementary age parents are worried about the effects of distance learning. Pre-teen and teen parents are worried about their child’s behavior and depression as a result of not being able to hang out with their friends. Even parents of young adults in college are concerned about their kids. Obviously, this situation has been less than ideal for any of us. We all miss our social lives, but parents seem to be placed in a uniquely challenging situation. They have to help them navigate these complex social situations while keeping them as safe and healthy as possible.
Should I be concerned about my child’s socialization?
Let me pose this question: Is there really anything you can do about this at this present moment? Until the world returns to normal again (hopefully soon), we will still be asked to social distance, mask, and possibly do virtual learning to stop the spread. Of course, this is hard on kids. They miss their friends or are prevented from making friends because they at being asked to stay home. Will there be some residual effects on their social skills? Possibly. No one really knows what the effects of social distancing will be yet. But, whatever happens, they won’t be alone. The majority of their peers will be in the same situation. The important thing to know is KIDS ARE RESILIENT! In most cases, kids will bounce back from this and be alright.
Socialization plays a huge role in a child or teen’s development. But, social distancing does not mean that your children can’t socialize. It just means they have to do things a little differently. Perhaps, they have to wear masks at school, lean virtually, or communicate with their friends using technology. It’s okay, they’re STILL SOCIALIZING! They will be able to return to normal socialization when this is over because once again, they will adapt. Remember, development isn’t something that just stops, it’s a lifelong process.
Ultimately, worrying is probably not the best use of your time at the moment. If your child is happy and healthy, then concentrate on that. Instead of worrying, spend intentional time with your child. Pay attention to them (even if it’s just for a few minutes), put away devices, and do something fun together. Fill this time at home with happy memories of family time.
What if my child is acting out and/or regressing?
If you have concerns about your child’s development or behavior, then reach out to a professional. Call your pediatrician and discuss your concerns with them or seek help from a child or teen therapist in your area.
Some concerns you may want to discuss with your child’s pediatrician or therapist include:
- Increased irritability or aggression towards family members
- Temper tantrums or explosive outbursts
- Anxiety, stress, or increased worry
- Withdrawl and loss of interest in things they used to enjoy
- Poor concentration
- Extreme sadness and depression
- Talk of self-harm or suicide and/or acting on these thoughts
- Changes in eating behaviors- eating too much or too little
- Nightmares or changes in sleep.
Child counseling or teen therapy can offer your kid some support during this challenging time. Even online, therapy offers a safe and non-judgemental space for your child to express their thoughts and feelings with a trusted adult. Your child’s therapist can also give them the tools and skills to help them cope with distress outside of the therapy room.
If your family is struggling, then family therapy can offer some support. Perhaps, being cooped up in the home has caused tension all around. Maybe, everyone is arguing and frustrated with each other. Your family therapist can help you and your loved ones reconnect and connect in a positive way with each other. You will learn tools to better manage conflict as it arises so everyone feels heard and validated.
Begin Child Counseling, Teen Therapy, or Family Counseling in the Atlanta Area:
If your child or your family is having a hard time dealing with the stress of the Coronavirus pandemic, then speaking with a skilled child therapist from Wellview Counseling can help them cope and handle their distress. To begin online therapy in Georgia, follow these steps:
- Reach out to our counseling clinic and schedule a consultation call with one of our therapists,
- Meet with a child therapist to ask any questions you may have about child therapy at Wellview Counseling
- Begin online counseling in Rosewell and take care of your mental health while practicing social distancing!
Other Therapy Services Offered at Wellview Counseling
Wellview Counseling is an Atlanta area therapy center that offers many mental health services to help you or your loved ones find healing and growth. Our therapy services include play therapy, child counseling, individual counseling, social skills groups for kids, therapy for postpartum anxiety and depression, anxiety treatment, trauma and PTSD treatment, chronic illness counseling, family therapy, and positive discipline parent education opportunities. Contact our Roswell, GA mental health clinic to learn more about online therapy and the many ways we can help you or your loved one.
About the Author: Therapist Ashley Bobo, LCSW
Ashley Bobo, LCSW is an Atlanta therapist who provides individual and family therapy to help with anxiety, depression, postpartum depression & anxiety, parent coaching, and other mental health concerns.
If you live in the Atlanta area (or anywhere in Georgia) and would like to begin counseling services for your child or anyone in your family, give us a call at 678-288-6221 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.