Positive Parenting in Uncertain Times. Part 10; Covid -19 Grief The 'New Norm'

Thu May 28th 2020

Grief – In relation to Covid 19 – The ‘New Norm’

Grief doesn’t just occur in relation to when someone dies. Grief can occur during ‘change’. 

Often grief can appear worse when those changes are still visual, when you know that person is there, but you can’t reach them, touch them or be with them. 

They can appear worse when a child knows school is just around the corner but they can’t go, they can’t see their friends daily, it may occur due to a house move, moving countries, separation or divorce of parents, loss of independence, change in mobility, life style, loss of job etc..

Grief can occur due to a pandemic, lock down and a ‘new norm’

Your child may be grieving – they may have been grieving throughout the past two months during lockdown, surrounded by talk of the virus and change.

They haven’t been able to see their vulnerable relatives; they may live with a vulnerable relative which means their ‘new norm’ may still be very restrictive. Going to school, socializing, shopping, youth group, church, church groups, having sleep overs etc. may all be a distant memory. 

The ‘new Norm’ sucks. It’s okay to grieve the ‘lost’ life they once had.

The seven emotional stages of grief are usually understood to be:

Shock or disbelief, 






 and acceptance/hope.

There is no set way you move through these stages, it maybe you or your child dip in and out of them according to a special day, celebration, music, smells, memories, circumstances etc.

Symptoms of grief can be emotional, physical, social, or religious in nature.  

Your child/ren need ‘time’ and ‘support’ to be able to talk about their grief. 

This diagram could be a great way to relate to COVID 19 and Lockdown. At the time of being told we were at Level 4, we may have been consumed by grief, worrying about all the losses. As we’ve moved through the levels the grief is still there, but life has carried on around it. However, there may times your child is consumed by grief again as they adapt to the ‘new norm’. 

Children need to be able to talk about the ‘old normal’ as well as the ‘new norm’

What do they miss? Why?

What does the ‘new norm’ mean to them?

Write poems, create a memory box, place treasures in here in relation to the old ‘norm’.

Write a story.

Further ideas, activities and books can be sourced at: https://www.skylight.org.nz/

Considering understanding grief and COVID 19 there are some great ideas and information on the following sites: