What to look out for in your children as you return to work

A Greek philosopher once said the only constant in life changes. While humans are adaptable, for our children it's been a crazy challenging year. And it's not over because now, the parents who have been working from home for 15 months, are preparing to go back to the office.

So how do you help your kids adjust as life after the pandemic starts to slowly look like it did before the pandemic? It can be a big adjustment for kids who may not understand why the rules are changing, again.

Dr. Emily Mudd is a pediatric psychologist at Cleveland Clinic Children’s and says it may take longer for some children to adapt than others - and that's normal.

"The pandemic may be all the child may or may not know. But I think it’s important for all children -- from toddler to adolescence -- children are resilient and in some cases, much more resilient than adults," Dr. Mudd said.

The things to look out for is if they're having a particularly hard time. There are ways to help them cope, like talking about how they're feeling and offering reassurance.

It's also important to be a good role model. If they see you have anxiety or stress about not having to wear a mask anymore, they may get stressed too.

Separation anxiety is also surfacing as parents pack up and return to work. Dr. Mudd's advice is to make sure to develop a new routine with them and explain what's happening in a way they'll understand.

"If you’re going back to work and as a parent have been home most of the time, prepare your child for when that might happen, no matter how young they are, so talking about it. This is when mom or dad is leaving, this is when I’ll be home. Keep those transition periods short, so the longer a goodbye is, the longer the child has to think about mom or dad leaving," Dr. Mudd said.

And if things get really bad, you may want to consult your pediatrician. 

Here are a few things to look out for that may prompt a call to your doctor:

  • A drastic change in behavior 
  • A difference in their sleeping or eating habits
  • Vague complaints about headaches or stomaches.