LOUISVILLE, Ky. - This week of reopening Kentucky is all focused around kids. Child care centers, summer camps, and some youth sports are now back in action across the Commonwealth.

What You Need To Know

  • Prepare your kids for the change

  • Parents should learn the new routine first, then share with kids.

  • Practice wearing face masks.

  • Keep drop-off short to prevent separation anxiety

Since kids have been home so long, it could take your little ones a few weeks to adjust to this new schedule. Amory Haley, UofL Health director of child and adolescent outpatient services, has some tips to make this transition easier.

“These kids have been home for three solid months, so you are going back with this same mindset of preparing them to the best of your ability before you go back by talking to them about what the routine is going to be, especially with the changes in routine,” Haley said.

As these places reopen, things will be different to keep everyone safe. Many of these child care centers have been communicating these changes with parents. If they have not, it could be a good idea to ask. Then, once you know what the new routine will look like, explain it to your kids in a way that makes sense for their age level.

“Kids do a really good job when they’ve been given information,” Haley said

If your kids haven’t been out much lately, they may not be used to face masks yet. You can practice wearing those around the house, so it starts to feel normal. Kids also might be more inclined to put up with wearing them if you let them pick out the design or decorate the mask themselves.

“Their ears are going to get sore. There are going to be things about it that they don’t like. We just have to talk to them about how it’s not just taking care of us, but taking care of others, so it is important for them to do their best to keep their masks on,” Haley said.

She also suggests some online picture books that can help explain why we wear masks now like this one from Child Care Connections.

For many, it’s been a long time since kids were away from home. So much time with parents lately could lead to separation anxiety when they do go back. Haley said the best thing you can do is keep the drop-off short, explain when exactly you will be back to get them and then be there when you say you will. 

When they do come home, ask them how it was. Tears, trouble sleeping, and unusual tantrums are all signs of anxiety.