Top tips for children arrangements coming out of lockdown and during the Easter holidays
- 29th March: outdoor gatherings of up to 6 people or two households, including meeting in private gardens. Outdoor sports facilities to reopen;
- 12th April: non-essential retail to re-open, hospitality, zoos, libraries and museums to re-open. Pubs and restaurants allowed to open for outdoor purposes only;
- 17th May: outdoor gatherings allowed up to 30 people, up to 6 people allowed to meet indoors and restaurants and pubs allowed to open up indoors. Restrictions on international travel to lift;
- 21st June: remove any remaining limits on social contact and re-open the final parts of the economy. Working from home rule to end.
It may be a big jump for some children to suddenly be thrown back into a world where they are allowed to interact with other children again and resume normal life activities such as going for a meal out. We should be prepared that for some, it may have taken some time to find ways of coping during lockdown, we should also expect that it may take some time to find their way back and to reconnect with life.
There are a number of ways you can support your child in making the transition:
- Talk with them about what is going on and what they can expect, keeping communication as open as you can and giving them lots of notice to adjust. Let them know its okay to feel however they feel, whether that’s scared, worried, angry, anxious or sad.
- Try to answer any questions they may have in an age appropriate manner. Whilst you may not be able to answer all their questions, talking through things could help put their mind at ease. Constant access to news and social media can cause a lot of anxiety, remind children of the facts and that sometimes information can be false or sensationalised, let them know that some things aren’t certain or known yet and that’s okay.
- Have conversations with your child about how things may look coming out of the lockdown. Going back to something can feel unusual or scary and may leave some feeling anxious. For example, they may have to wear a mask at school or be tested, or getting used to one way systems in shops. It’s important to acknowledge these feelings are reasonable and to expect them and that to some extent they can take things at their own pace.
- Ask your child what they are looking forward to most and try and get them to focus on the positives and, if realistic, try and plan the activity they are looking forward too.
- You may also want to consider appointing a tutor for your child to help support them in catching up with school work if that is needed.
- If you a child arrangement order in place or an agreement if you share the care of your child and this has had to be amended temporarily due to lockdown then it would be sensible to discuss with the child’s other parent when the contact will resume as per the agreement or Court Order. Whilst some changes may have had to be made during the pandemic it is important to remember that these changes are not permanent, especially if there is a Court Order in place.
- Reassure them that things will get easier and that you will be there for them. Going from a strict lockdown to complete freedom whilst it may be over a period of time, can be a lot for a child to take in and they may want to have complete freedom sooner than they are allowed. Reassuring them that they can take things at their own pace if they are not ready to do everything they are allowed would be helpful, similarly helping them understand what they can do and when and reassuring them that life will get back to normal.
- During lockdown you may have spent more time as a family than you have ever had time to do before the pandemic. You may have started some new family traditions such as going for a walk after tea, spending an evening together watching films, speak with your children and see if they have really enjoyed anything you have done together since lockdown and try to continue doing this once the restrictions have lifted.
- Whilst many children have been desperate to see friends, but some may have become comfortable in their own space and with their own company during lockdown. It’s been an intense year and we may have to gently push our children (and ourselves) to reconnect with people and overcome initial awkwardness and let them take things at their own pace whether that be by meeting friends in public spaces to start off with or virtually.
It is important to take time to not only look after your children and support them in coming out of lockdown but to also look after yourself and remember that there is a range of support available to assist.