Helping Children with Social Anxiety During Family Photos
Houston Family Photography
The world is starting to feel a little bigger these days. Vaccines and lowered COVID numbers mean that we are slowly becoming more social, our circles are expanding and we are spending more time together.
It’s all good things…but have you noticed a shift at all?
For me personally, I have been struggling with being completely drained from social gatherings.
I am normally a very extroverted person, but I am finding that the more social I am, the more tired I am. It takes a lot out of me to be social and it got me thinking…have I changed?
Maybe I have. It’s been an isolating year if we are honest with ourselves. No matter how you approached COVID, we lost a lot and things are different on the other side of this. I’m saying “no” to things I would normally jump to go do. Im taking more time for myself, reading more and listening to my body when it feels like too much.
And if it has affected a super social person like myself this way, how much more are our children affected?
Recently, I was shooting a newborn session and noticed that big sister was really struggling with me being in her space. I am a new person…she’s only 2 years old and not only has her world changed with the addition of a new sibling, but now there is a clean lady dancing around the bedroom trying to get her to smile. Even just typing that makes me sound crazy. Even if she remembers a time before COVID, it can still be very overwhelming to meet new people.
As a photographer, I have seen a lot of certified COVID babies- they have never even had a cold or really spent a lot of time around people. So how can we help give them peace of mind and build trust while capturing memories?
How to help children after social distancing
Expect it to take some time– your child has likely fallen into a new routine or pattern. Change takes time, so give them the grace to feel what they feel and take that deep breath as they navigate on their own time.
Talk with your child- give them a space to talk about their fears, which are legit! They could be afraid of getting sick or even of stories they have heard about COVID. Talk with them and help them to understand what is going on in the world in a way they can process.
Don’t make promises- oh mannnnn this is a big one for me! My best friend is a nurse and one of the first things she learned in nursing school was to never promise someone “it will be ok”. Because you don’t actually know that. It feels like the right thing to say, but ultimately it just squashes their fears in a way that isn’t ultimately helpful. Instead, help them to learn how to deal with possible negative outcomes in life.
Let your child practice and start small- don’t show up at a big party and expect them to just go with the flow. Start small and help them through each part of it. Let me know it’s ok if they start out feeling alright and now it’s to much.
Know that I got your back- I normally come in guns blazing, a little sarcasm (if they are old enough to understand it) and some silly fart references ready to go. But if it’s too much, it won’t take long for me to figure that out and change my approach. No matter what your child is feeling, it’s totally ok to share that with me (in fact, I would love if you did because it really helps in the long run build that trust!)
At the end of the day, we are all in this together. As the world begins to recover, we are all in some state of recovery…trying to navigate the new normal. Your pictures are still crazy important, so know that I am ready to take the time, unhurried, to help make them happen.
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