How you can help your children adjust to the world as COVID safety guidelines change

Children 12 and older eligible to be vaccinated

Helping kids adjust to changing guidelines
Helping kids adjust to changing guidelines

DETROIT – As COVID restrictions are dropped in Michigan, many adults are struggling to adapt to the change. Many children are struggling too.

Experts said it’s important for parents to explain why the rules are changing and offered advice for helping children who are feeling anxious about the shift.

For more than a year, people have been expected to wear masks, social distance and students have had to learn virtually. As more people get vaccinated and the COVID case counts go down restrictions are being loosened.

“You might have some kids who are really excited about getting back to normal at first and others who are a little more hesitant,” licensed therapist Jody Baumstein said.

Read: What to know about Gov. Whitmer’s plan to invest in, expand child care

Jody Baumstein said the best way to help children is to explain why things are changing.

“If the expectation has been one thing for a year or more and suddenly it changes we can’t just expect kids to adapt and not understand why,” Jody Baumstein said. “If a policy or practice has changed at school, or at camp, or somewhere in the community that they’re used to going over the past year -- help them to understand what it is going to be like when they go next time.”

Children may have trouble understanding why some families are still being very cautious and others are not. So it’s important to explain your rules and the reasons for them. Some children will need more time to adjust to the changes. Don’t rush them and be sure to keep the conversation going.

“Just let them know they can come back to you whenever they want, or need, and if you don’t have the information you’ll find out and you’ll get back to them,” Jody Baumstein said.

The CDC encourages parents to get children over the age of 12 vaccinated against COVID as soon as possible. Health officials stress that children too young to be vaccinated should continue to wear masks indoors and in crowded places.

Read: Michigan coronavirus cases up to 892,469; Death toll now at 19,548

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Questions about coronavirus? Ask Dr. McGeorge

About the Authors:

Kimberly Gill joined the Local 4 News team in November 2014. She was named Personality of the Year in 2009 by the Ohio Broadcaster’s Hall of Fame. She’s also a two-time Emmy winner.

Kayla is a Web Producer for ClickOnDetroit. Before she joined the team in 2018 she worked at WILX in Lansing as a digital producer.