What If Your Children Are Afraid to Go Outdoors

May 27, 2020
In today's article, we want to talk about the fears our little ones may experience as they adapt to another new situation. For example, as quarantine restrictions relax, some children may be afraid to go outdoors.

Little by little and with certain restrictions, in some areas of the world, both children and adults can start leaving quarantine behind. But, what happens if your children are afraid to go outdoors?

The transition from quarantine to being able to go outdoors once again

By now, we’ve spent enough time indoors for many of us to even get used to being in quarantine. Therefore, now that we can gradually leave our homes, we need to get used to a new daily routine.

In this sense, on a psychological level, the crisis situation that coronavirus produced affects us in many ways. As some psychologists point out, just like many adults, some children may have gotten used to and accepted confinement as their new normal as well.

Little by little, families must begin leaving their life in isolation behind. And despite certain flexibility regarding how to organize and structure our day, we still need to take into account certain restrictions and precautions when we go out.

What If Your Children Are Afraid to Go Outdoors

Now, when it comes to children, getting used to a new situation isn’t always easy. Just like it wasn’t easy for them to get used to not going to school or to the park at the beginning of all of this.

Therefore, once again, adults need to be able to help their little ones get used to another new situation. And this involves being patient and trying to understand the reasons why some children may be reluctant or even afraid to go outdoors.

Why might children be afraid to go outdoors?

There may be many reasons why some children, now that they’re allowed to venture out, have or express fear of doing so.

  • They believe that they, or someone from their family, may catch the virus.
  • They know that, even though they can go outdoors, they won’t be able to approach their friends and neighbors or play together at the park.
  • They’re aware of the greater presence of police on the streets, which may produce a sense of danger or intimidation in some children.
  • Some children – especially older children who are more aware of current events – may be afraid to go outdoors because they’ve heard about protests and conflicts over social distancing, etc.
  • Going outdoors means leaving their current comfort zone, which is at home with their family.

What can we do to keep our little ones from being afraid to go outdoors?

Parents should practice certain precautions and make use of strategies so that their little ones can gradually regain the normality that the presence of coronavirus in the world has taken away from us.

First of all, and most importantly, parents shouldn’t force their children to do anything. If your kids are afraid to go outdoors, making them do it may only cause their anxiety levels to increase. And second, you should listen to your children and try to comprehend the reasons why they’re reluctant to leave the house.

Strategies for encouraging your children to go outdoors

To make it easier for children to adapt once again to going out, you can use the following approaches:

  • Show and explain to your children the positive side of leaving the house. Talk with them about how their bodies and minds need exposure to the sun. Also, discuss the benefits that the sun offers in terms of their growth and them having more energy to keep playing.
What If Your Children Are Afraid to Go Outdoors

  • Appeal to their imagination. Leave them thinking about all the new things they may find when they go outdoors once again. Remind them that they’ve been at home for a long time and that things have changed, so the arrival of spring may allow them to discover some great surprises.
  • Awaken their curiosity. Encourage them to reunite with friends and neighbors who, without a doubt, have all sorts of anecdotes and activities to talk about from their time in quarantine. Of course, during the encounters, make sure that you all maintain a safe distance.
  • Carry out this transition gradually. While it’s true that we have more freedom to leave home with our children, it’s still important to take things slow. And, if your child expresses fears or concerns, be sure to listen. Only go outside on the days where he or she feels up to it.
  • Be careful about the information that you share with your little ones about the virus. Of course, it’s important for them to be aware of and apply safety guidelines to prevent the spread of the disease. However, we should be careful not to overwhelm them with an excess of information or constant reminders and instructions.

And lastly, we want to talk about what you shouldn’t do…

We’re going through very complicated times. We’re still not aware of the consequences that this pandemic will leave behind on so many levels… Economic, social, personal, emotional, psychological, etc.

Feeling afraid and experiencing moments when worry and uncertainty invade our thoughts are inevitable. But, as adults, we need to make an effort and pay attention to our little ones. That way, we’ll be able to help them handle their emotions and fears.

Make an effort not to feed into the fears that your children may have about going outdoors. This means you should avoid talking about the virus all the time. Make a point not to expose little ones constantly to information and conversations about the topic.

At the same time, show enthusiasm when you talk to your children. Remind them how great it is that you can go outdoors to play and have fun.