What About Children's Fear of Going Out Again?

In today's article we'll talk about children's fear when adapting to new situations during the pandemic, such as going outside again to play and take walks.
What About Children's Fear of Going Out Again?

Last update: 17 April, 2021

It seems like we’re doing things right. We’ve taken another step forward in the war we’re waging to defeat the coronavirus (COVID-19). With certain restrictions, both adults and children are gradually leaving confinement to go out. However, what about children’s fear to go out again?

From quarantine to going out again

It’s been such a long time that many of us are getting used to quarantine. Considering that a habit is acquired through frequent practice, we’re doing our homework very well. So, now that we can gradually go outside, we have to get used to another daily routine again.

So, on a psychological level, this crisis caused by the coronavirus affects us all on many levels. And, as some psychologists point out, like many adults, many children have become accustomed to and have accepted the situation of confinement as a normal state of affairs.

However, families will have to gradually leave behind this organized chaos of a life confined indoors. The time is coming to shift from a certain flexibility in the timetable to reorganizing and structuring the day by taking into account time restrictions and necessary precautions for going out.

What About Children's Fear of Going Out Again?

However, in the case of the youngest children, adapting to this new situation may not be easy. Just as it wasn’t easy for them to get used to not being able to go out when all this started.

Therefore, adults must help children get used to the new situation. To this end, we must be patient and understand the reasons why some children may be reluctant or fearful to go outside.

Children’s fear of going out again?

There are many reasons why some children, now that they can go out again, may be afraid to do so.

  • Belief that they or their family members may become infected.
  • Knowing that, even if they can go out, they won’t be able to get close to their friends, or play in parks.
  • Being aware of the increased presence of police or military forces on the streets. This may cause, in some children, feelings of respect or unease.
  • Having to go out of their comfort zone, which is the home and the family.

How to overcome children’s fear of going out again?

Parents should consider certain precautions and strategies so that children can gradually go back to the normality before the presence of the coronavirus in their lives.

First of all, and most importantly, we mustn’t force them to do anything, otherwise we may trigger anxiety. Secondly, we must listen and try to understand their reasons for not wanting or not being able to go outside.

To make it easier for children to adapt to this new situation of going out again, we can:

  • Explain and show them the positive side of going out of the house. Talk to them about the need of their body and mind to be in the sunlight. Speak of the benefits of the sun in growing and having more energy for playing.
What About Children's Fear of Going Out Again?

  • Appeal to their imagination. Open up questions about all the new things they may encounter when they go outside again. Remind them that they haven’t done it in a long time, that things change and they can discover wonderful surprises.
  • Awaken their enthusiasm and curiosity. Encourage them to meet their friends and neighbors, with whom they’ll surely have a lot to talk about. For instance, tell each other the anecdotes and activities they did at home, with the family during confinement, always keeping a safe distance.
  • To go out gradually. Even if we can to go out with our children every day, it’s best to do it gradually. If children express certain fears, listen to them and go out only on days when they feel ready.
  • Be cautious with the information we give them about the virus. Of course, children should know and respect the guidelines for avoiding contagion when going out. However, they shouldn’t feel overwhelmed by too many constant recommendations and instructions.

Finally, what we shouldn’t do…

We’re going through very complicated times, and the various consequences of this pandemic are still unknown, i.e. social, economic, personal, emotional, psychological.

It’s inevitable for us all to have fears, feel constantly invaded by a feeling of uncertainty. But adults must make the effort and pay attention to the little ones in order to help them manage their emotions and, above all, their fears.

So, to avoid nourishing children’s fear of going out, it’s essential to avoid constantly talking about the virus. We should avoid constantly exposing children to information and conversations on the subject. Finally, we should try to be enthusiastic about how wonderful it is to be able to go outside again to play and have fun.

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Fear is a necessary but unpleasant emotion. It can intimidate children, which is why they’ll need your help to overcome fear.