As we have re-entered life after all the limitations of the last year and a half, many of us find ourselves feeling out of sorts. At a time we are regaining freedom, we thought we would be in a happier state getting back to the norm of what our lives looked like pre-Covid.
For adults, this was getting the kids back in school and having time more delineated between the work/school week and the weekend, not having to negotiate our day work with teaching our kids, and for many, the separation of the office from the home.
For kids and adolescents this has been getting back to school and social lives, not having parents as invested and involved in the day to day goings on, and returning to the after school activities that created passions and hobbies. These are things we had always assumed would create balance and structure in our daily lives. Covid taught us to take nothing for granted.
Through the past year and a half, people reported feeling disconnected and alone, longing for social get togethers and hugs. We longed for connectedness. As summer hit and camps started up again, and then fall with the start of school, we all assumed the halt in life would now pick up exactly where we left off. However, many adults and kids alike now report feeling more disconnected and depressed than they did during Covid.
We didn't account for all the internal growth that happens in the day to day doings of schedules, expectations, and social connection. Kids who were in 4th grade at the start of the pandemic find themselves going back to a completely different environment in Middle School, and those that were at the beginning of Middle School at the start of the pandemic now find themselves transitioning to High School. Parents who had drive time to amp up and to close down from work between home and office, now are still finding home and office completely entwined.
How do we stay mindful of the transition for everyone within a family? As parents, it's important to create conversations with our kids about loss and transition. Everyone lost something in the past year and a half. For adults, that is easier to manage or create balance with because we have had other experiences in our lives that have taught us these skills. For many kids and adolescents, this is their first experience with navigating loss and transition, so these skills need to be taught.
One important part of the teaching is conversation. To share, from the adult perspective, what the losses have been and how what we have had to negotiate to rebalance. To ask our children, what do you grieve? What do you feel you have lost and work on brainstorming ideas on how to regain or recoup some of those losses while also teaching our kids how to grieve losses they cannot get back.