The Rebound Detroit: What parents, experts say will help kids cope with the 'new normal' during the pandemic

Posted at 5:27 PM, Jun 02, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-02 20:04:19-04

TROY, Mich. (WXYZ) — Jesse and Christy Davenport are both teachers at schools in metro Detroit, but turning into full-time educators at home hasn’t been easy.

"Trying to adjust the new norm that we're living and having our boys adjust to it," said Christy Davenport.

Jesse Davenport adding that they've been trying to find a healthy medium.

"Trying to strike the happy medium between the schoolwork, and time on their tablets, and time outside," Jesse said.

At just 7 and 4 years old, there’s only so much Sutton and Brady can understand about living amidst a pandemic.

"They know that there's something serious going on," Jesse said. "They call it Coronavirus month."

But one thing they do understand is what it means for summer fun.

"Our little one was really excited to play soccer so he was very bummed that he can't play soccer right now," Christy said.

"We were going to camp with my family this year and none of that is going to happen anymore," Jesse added.

With changes to the school year, summer trips and big life events, experts say the pandemic can impact a child’s mental well being.

Now more than ever I think it's important for parents really to keep a close eye on their kids and look for warning signs.

Henry Ford Child Psychotherapist Ashton Taylor says there are some behavioral changes you need to look out for when it comes to your kids.

"When you're looking at the younger kids, a lot of times you'll notice that they're more tearful, they're more irritable, maybe a little bit clingier," Taylor said.

As for older kids?

"Changes in moods, irritability , being more isolative," Taylor said. "Weight gain, weight loss, sleeping for long periods of time."

As parents, there is a way you can help curb the impact.

"One of the things that I have been preaching to everyone personally and professionally is the importance of keeping structure and routine. It's so necessary in terms of mental health," Taylor said.

For the Davenport's, that means engaging their kids as much as possible, helping to manage their time by keeping them busy and active.

"We just bring the net to the yard and bring the soccer balls outside and we turn our yard into a soccer field," Christy said.

"The good thing about kid's is they're very resilient and you know, as long as you keep them engaged and keep things fun, they're gonna be ok," Taylor added.

The Rebound Rundown on what you can do at home

  • Have periodic check ins with your kids. Ask how they’re feeling and validate their feelings
  • Come up with a plan for the day or week and share it with them
  • Create a new family bucket list of things you can do this summer

If you suspect a serious mental stress get help by reaching out to your child's pediatrician. They can evaluate your child's needs and refer you to a Therapist or Psychiatrist.

Henry Ford Health Systems has a Community Hotline open for anyone to call with questions or concerns at 313-874-0343