As a mom of two kids, a just-turned 13-year-old and a 10-year-old, we have definitely adjusted to life with covid. While we have been spared (we think!), we have had a much different year than expected.
As we plan for summer 2021, we are also hoping for some “old” normals with fewer covid restrictions. When we were fully locked down last summer, the kids hadn’t been in the grocery store, they didn’t see their friends, they had no school. Now, with Michigan still having many restrictions, I’m focused on those basics of Helping Tweens Readjust to Life After Covid Restrictions.
I hate hearing new normal.
Change is constant, so we cannot claim a new normal. Yet, here we are, trying to help our kids readjust to life. Many kids have new friends. Some families chose new schools to either stay in person, have a hybrid option, or just because they felt differently about covid restrictions. Some parents chose to homeschool. However, how do we get to know these new friends when people aren’t hanging out, having large birthday parties or sleepovers?
Parenting after COVID-19: Take It Slow
When meeting new friends, take it slow. Start with a public meeting outside, so you can get to know their comfort level with being around others.
To prevent issues, talk to other families to see what they find appropriate. Some may have family members at home who have weakened immune systems so they may expect masks to be used outdoors. Others may need more time to be ready for in-person meetings. It is important, as parents, that we let our tweens know that relationships are different now. Families are making choices they feel are right for them. While your tween may show signs of loneliness, they need to know that not being invited to birthday parties may mean less about the friendship and more about who has been in their social bubble.
Your child will feel more rejected by others if you do too much, too soon. But I also know kids, mine included, are struggling with being lonely and not having their friends. To help your tween adjust after covid, take it slow and make the time with friends meaningful.
Ideas for getting together with others when covid restrictions relax
- Do something outdoor. For example, find a local lake and go kayaking. This is something that is interactive, creates memories and you can do together, while having your own space.
- Have a Backyard Day. Get some items for s’mores and invite some friends that your child really misses so that they can have a relaxing time. If you’re not yet comfortable with games like volleyball, try horseshoes or “bags.” This can allow everyone to have their own items and is non-contact.
- Visit the mall and meet up with a friend. Tweens are the new mall rats. They enjoy shopping, they have clothing preferences and it is a great way to stock up after all these quarantine growth spurts! You may be surprised by the clothing retro vibes which are coming back and may even remind you of your tween years!
Meet with those who feel the same as you while still welcoming old friends
It is important to understand that some people will continue to wear masks for a while. It is just as important to understand that some people are comfortable being around others. Information is out there supporting both sides. As friends, we need to respect the opinion of others. Not drop them or cancel them.
As a mom, I always want my children to feel like their voices are heard, but, I also need to guide their beliefs. We only have a short amount of time to parent them before they’re adults on their own (and may just realize we were right!)
By forging those relationships with those who have similar beliefs, your child will have your beliefs reinforced. This doesn’t mean to purposefully exclude some others, but it means you focus on having your family around those who feel the same as you.