How can we help?

As a therapist I have heard a lot of “now that the pandemic is over, everything is slowly/should slowly be getting back to normal”.  Kids need support now! I think it’s more pertinent to look at what effects these last few years have had on our youngsters. What can we do to support the new landscape that we are all slowly trying to shift into?

Why is this happening?

Schools shifted to online learning for most individuals over the past few years. Not only have many academic factors been paused, but social engagements. The enhancement of social skills have also been restricted. For many kids, the last few years have been fraught with confusion. There has been a lack of explanation as to why their routines and worlds were flipped upside down. There is loneliness along with feelings relating to isolation and sadness.

Kids need support now!

From my experience post- pandemic, many kids are still reeling. From not seeing their friends consistently, working through feelings of fear/anxiety about health and wellness, many are dealing with social anxiety type symptoms. This includes feelings of vulnerability as they encounter no longer having to cover half their faces when speaking to others.

So what can we, as parents, friends, and support personnel do considering kids need support now more than ever?

1. Encourage socialization

Every family is different. I wholeheartedly support families maintaining health- related boundaries as they see fit. However, kids need support now more than ever when it comes to socialization. Encouraging youth to form new friendships and check in with former classmates is a great first step. Reconnecting with neighbours and make new friends can enhance their communication skills. It can also lessen symptoms of social anxiety, encourage the formation and enhancement of social skills, and boost mood.

2. Learn to actively listen to understand rather than listening to solve a problem

Many parents, teachers, or adults in general struggle with this! It’s a lot harder than you may think. Listening to understand is a form of actively listening. It is about holding space that doesn’t necessarily include a “fix” or a solution to an issue. This can be helpful. It can ensure your youngster feels heard and empowered to find a solution to their struggles in a meaningful way to them!

3. Validate, Validate, Validate!

These past few years have been tough for everyone. For parents, teachers, kids, your favourite barista at Starbucks, your grocer, etc. Reinforce that everyone is in this stage of recovery together!

Kids need support now when it comes to validating their pandemic experience. Listening to your child’s concerns or feelings is important. Equally important is the acceptance and validation of their experience. It is likely different to yours.

One of the ways we can foster this openness, is by holding space for youth to voice their views. This should be done without interruption, or our own input. If you’re a parent, this can be challenging. However, it’s. vital as your experience is likely very, very different to your child’s’!

4. Limit Stress as much as possible and engage in family fun!

There are SO many ways to spend time together and create positive memories! Get outside and go for a nice brisk walk. Start a new hobby together. Increase weekly family dinners or game nights. Watch a movie together. Begin having company over for birthdays and special occasions. Plan a mini weekend staycation somewhere fun. Practice mindfulness, see below for more ideas on this. Try to journal together as a family. Try a new recipe together.

Any activity that encourages fun, smiling, and laughter is a good place to start!

5. Reach out for further help if needed

There is no shame in needing additional support. What better way to model this for your child than to get that help yourself! There are many available resources for therapy, whether you are searching for family therapy, couples therapy, or individual therapy.


See below for some helpful resources and remember, you don’t have to go through this healing journey alone!


Post by Bosnar Health Psychotherapist, Flora Gerlai

book a free psychotherapy consultation
  • Book an appointment with a registered psychotherapist in your area. Psychology Today is a great online resource.
  • Enrol your child/yourself in a group to share similar experiences and broaden skills
  • Mindfulness practices: journaling (try the 5-minute journal for kids), YouTube mindfulness videos and guided meditations. Mindset coach Sylvie offers guided online meditations every Wednesday. Sign up HERE.