Helping children who have lost social development

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) – As her 5-year-old daughter Gigi counts the numbers, Nicole Alvarado remembers how the past year and a half hasn’t been as easy as 1, 2, 3.

“It was a little heartbreaking to have him here this year because I felt like I couldn’t give him those experiences with friends,” Nicole said.

When Gigi resumed interacting in person with friends after the state reopened this summer, Nicole said that was when she noticed a change.

“I could definitely see that maybe there had been some communication issues with things she wasn’t very articulate about, like sharing or compromising, things she would have learned all over the past year and a half.” in kindergarten, ”Nicole said.

Experts have reported seeing more and more children of all ages affected by the loss of normal interaction.

Shelby Espiritu, Marriage and Family Therapist at Sharp Mesa Vista, said, “They haven’t learned to problem-solve right in front of other children, especially the younger ones; what to do when someone takes my toy, how to deal with it myself. “

Espiritu added, “The older kids, they’re in that space of starting to individualize and separate a bit from their family, having their own opinions and then spending time with their friends and they just couldn’t. do either. “

Nicole is already doing much of what Espiritu said parents can do to help their children thrive, including:

  • Monitor your child’s non-normal behaviors, from personality changes to unusual physical symptoms
  • Schedule time regularly for children to share their feelings and experiences
  • Without judgment, name what they are feeling so they can understand it better

Espiritu said it’s not just parents who can help.

“Not all children have supports at home, so school is a place where we, as a community, can make sure that children are supported and taken care of and that their emotional development is really a priority. “she said.

According to Espiritu, not all the results of the pandemic have been negative.

“I still think that if we hadn’t been through this, there are lessons these children would not have learned,” she added.

Nicole said Gigi looks forward to spending her days in class with children her age.

“Putting her in the world is a little scary, but I hope she continues to be safe and just having fun,” Nicole said.

Espiritu encouraged parents not to fight if their children are having problems. She said it can take us away emotionally from our children.

If your kids say, “I’m fine, I’m fine,” Espiritu told them to trust them unless you see some of the warning signs described.

Joel C. Hicks