The COVID-19 pandemic has had a profound impact on every aspect of our lives, and our children and teens have not been immune to its effects. After a year of social distancing and remote learning, reentry into the "normal" world can be a daunting prospect, especially for kids and teens who are already prone to social anxiety in today’s technologically dependent world.
Social anxiety is a common and normal experience for many children and teens. It is characterized by feelings of nervousness, self-consciousness, and fear of judgment in social situations. Some thoughts that may reinforce these feelings could sound like:
The pandemic has only amplified these feelings, as kids and teens have had limited opportunities to interact with others and build social skills. The sudden change in social norms and expectations can be overwhelming and make it difficult for kids and teens to adjust.
Reentry into the "normal" world presents several challenges for kids and teens with social anxiety. For example, returning to school or extracurricular activities after a year of remote learning may be difficult for some. They may feel nervous about seeing their peers and teachers again, or worry about how they will perform in a new and unfamiliar setting. They may also feel pressure to catch up with their peers who have had more opportunities to socialize during the pandemic.
Parents and guardians can help their children and teens navigate this transition by acknowledging their feelings and offering support. Here are some tips to help ease the reentry process: