Psychologists explain advice for children socializing this summer

Summer Socialization
Posted at 12:13 PM, May 21, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-21 23:46:30-04

APPLETON (NBC 26) -- Camps may be canceled, plans may be altered, and even the playground may look different this summer.

"We have to look at helping kids develop a new normal," Sherman Counseling clinical psychologist Casey Hanson said.

Hanson said that the best predictor for how kids will respond to and manage a new normal is their parents. Many kids have already seen a new normal after being out of the classroom and away from friends for a few months.

Now, psychologists say even if kids need to stay a little physically apart, they don't always have to be socially distant.

"We're lucky enough that we've got a generation of kids that are really used to doing a lot of this social connection electronically," Hanson said. "They do have the benefit of being able to use video game platforms and FaceTime and Netflix parties and all of these other great ways to connect and engage, and that might just take a little bit more flexibility from parents.”

There are ways to get outside and play, but remember that after a few months that some kids may be a bit uneasy.

"I think it's great if parents can plan with our kids, what's our escape plan, what's our out," Hanson said. "If we're playing with our friends at the park and I get overwhelmed because i haven't done this in a while, i can say purple elephant and that's our code word that mom and i know but maybe my friends don't know to say that I need a break, I need you to help me regulate, or provide me some reassurance."

In addition to reassurance, Hanson said parents should focus on routine and regulation. The 'three R's' can help families get through a summer that may be unlike any other.