The deconfinement of the youngest children still generates doubts among parents. There are those who face the new normal with joy and enthusiasm, while others live it with fear and anguish, but what is clear is that for everyone it is a new and unfamiliar situation.
How are we coping with de-escalation?
We started from being cooped up at home for a long time. First we had to adapt to “staying in”, that being the safe thing to do, what we had to do to be safe and well. De-escalation has meant, after spending so much time like this, a new change to adapt to and expose ourselves to going out, when before the safe thing to do was not to go out.
That is why it is a process that is proving difficult for many children: they have become accustomed to being at home, they feel safer without going out and when they think of doing so or begin to expose themselves to going out, from a position of fear and insecurity, this has made them feel very anxious.
How do younger children manage their emotions?
Children do not have the same emotional intelligence and ability to recognize, identify and manage their emotions as an adult. It is during their childhood development where we must help them to assimilate and build their emotional world, so there are situations that we as adults manage more easily and to which we adapt with greater ease and capacity.
They, although they face them and seem to “adapt to everything”, they do not process it adequately due to these differences in managing their emotions that increase the possibility of developing psychological problems in the future.
If there is also anxiety, insecurities, fears, low mood or any psychological or emotional state not managed or well elaborated, these possibilities increase.
In addition, for many families this situation has meant serious losses: bereavement, unemployment or economic problems, expressed and showing our discomfort, but perhaps the younger ones who do not know how to manage or express it have not managed to do so.
Children’s anxiety or mood problems are manifested with a change in their behavior.
In order to identify if our child suffers from anxiety it is important to pay attention to their behavioral changes and difficulties they may present in different areas, for example: they may be more irritable, frustrated, labile (they cry easily and sometimes without knowing why), attention, memory and concentration problems may appear.
We can also notice the child lethargic or on the contrary, more psychomotorly uninhibited and altered. And difficulties may also appear in their way of relating (they do not want to be with anyone, they isolate themselves), in play (they do not enjoy or do not play at all), physiologically as difficulties in falling asleep (nightmares, insomnia, fears), eating problems (low appetite or emotional eating) and even somatization and gastrointestinal symptoms, dermatological problems or headaches, among others.
To help children in de-escalation it is very important to pay attention to the following recommendations:
- Communication. It is essential that the explanations we give them are clear and simple.
- Security. We must be able to transmit tranquility in an exceptional situation.
- Show a positive mood. Our mood will be contagious through our emotions and we will make them feel safe.
- Be attentive to their emotions and help them express their feelings.