Managing expectations for the re-entry to the real world
In all likelihood, when we are given the go ahead to return to “normal” life, things as we have known them and have taken for granted will probably be quite different ... at least for a (little) while. So, managing expectations becomes really important, not just for us adults but also, and perhaps especially, for kids and teens. It’s important to have realistic expectations so we don’t become disappointed or despondent.
Realistically, we may return to a world whereby:
· mask wearing at work, schools, grocery stores and any other place where physical distancing may be hard to maintain will be the norm.
· handshaking and greeting good friends and relatives with the single or the double cheek kisses is a distant memory.
· hand sanitizing dispensers hang everywhere with abundant signs posted to remind us to sanitize and wash our hands frequently.
· people’s temperature is checked before entering malls, schools and other establishments.
· restaurant tables are separated by plexiglass, or at the very least, spaced apart and where wait staff wear masks, gloves and face shields.
· sports events and concerts are played in empty stadiums.
· classroom desks are separated, there’s no sharing of pencils, sharpeners, and crayons, students eat lunch at their desks without socializing and spraying food particles everywhere.
· birthday parties and sleep overs are put on hold.
Of course, all such measures will be undertaken to maintain our safety as we attempt to conquer COVID, but these measures will for sure represent a new world for all of us.
4 things you can do to manage expectation:
1. Get thinking: Start identifying your own expectations about what life may be like when we go back to our daily activities in the outside world and adjust these according to what’s likely and what’s not.
2. Get in touch: Reflect on your feelings regarding what is likely to be or not.
3. Get talking: Have a discussion with your children and teens about what they picture a return to normal life to be. Help them adjust their expectations to reality and help them process their thoughts and feelings.
4. Get Real: Prepare psychologically for a different world. High expectations mean disappointments. Realistic expectations mean being able to adjust more easily to the things that are beyond our control.
Remember, we are all in this together.... let’s stay safe and wise and do whatever we individually can do to help beat the virus and really get back to our old normal!