It’s easy for parents to become stuck in a cycle of second-guessing themselves while determining their choices about their kids, especially post-pandemic. While we can’t entirely foresee the pandemic’s influence on our children’s mental health, we can assist them and hope that our best efforts are successful.

Parents must figure out what their limits are when it comes to their children. They can keep a journal that will provide them a clear reference point and give them confidence in their decisions, according to Erica Fener-Sitkoff, clinical psychologist and executive director of Voices for Georgia’s Children, a children’s advocacy nonprofit.

“Quiet the noise, focus on who you trust and be honest about your comfort levels and family’s needs,” Fener-Sitkoff told CNN.

Here are 3 things you can do to ease the transition for your kids from the highly stressful pandemic isolation.

Also Read | Decoding the love behind Indian dads’ everyday lingo

Communicate with your children

Have an age-appropriate dialogue about the upcoming changes with your children, whether they are toddlers, adolescents, or teenagers.

Begin by recognising how you’ve helped each other through difficult times. Discuss the prior limits you established to keep the family safe, as well as how and why they are evolving. 

Convey that further changes will occur as we understand more about the virus or as more people get vaccinated — or don’t get vaccinated — and that you’ll continue to discuss them as a family.

Also, be careful to convey what you can all do to keep safe, according to what Fener-Sitkoff told CNN.

Also Read | Haryana to reopen schools for classes 9-12 from July 16. Details here

Lower expectations for older kids

According to Maia Smith, a longstanding school social worker with Fulton County in Georgia, all children need time to adjust to a new schedule, but parents of teenagers must be especially careful to respond to their problems with empathy rather than punishment or limitations, CNN reported.

This is due to the fact that parents have higher expectations for older children. Put them on hold. Even if your kid is acting out, now is the moment to show grace and keep the channels of communication open.

Brittney Walters — a certified clinical social worker and clinical director of school-based mental health at CHRIS 180, a behavioural health and child welfare support organisation — told CNN that she believes that when parents are open about their personal struggles with the change, it helps children feel less alone. (Creativity, honour, respect, integrity, and safety are denoted by the letters “CHRIS.”)

Also Read | How storytelling makes us human, reduces pain in hospitalised children

Create rituals and routines

You can create a new routine to help them re-establish their sense of comfort, safety, and confidence in their new surroundings. They feel more in charge the more consistent the pattern is.

Develop “see you later” and “welcome home” routines, which are easy means of saying goodbye and reuniting at the end of the day. A kiss on the brow. A high five. Also, try to connect without using a screen for at least 30 minutes per day.

Kids remember the little things,” Fener-Sitkoff told CNN. “They don’t cost anything, but they are heartfelt.”