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Scaffold parenting encompasses three pillars: support, structure, and encouragement. Think of it as a metaphor, in which your child is a “building,” and parents are the scaffold around him. As the child rises and grows, the scaffolds of your support, structure, and encouragement guide and protect the child.

Among many popular parenting strategies, scaffolding provides a framework for which kids to grow and thrive. While we cannot shelter our children from life’s struggles and strife, our “scaffolds” act as armor, offering them protection and guidance when faced with everyday challenges.

As reentry into society and “normal” activities begin to resume, children and adults are reporting higher anxiety levels – mixed with healthy doses of excitement about seeing friends again. The roadmap to reengaging with peers and society is unique to each child and family. We’ve all experienced an unusual period of anxiety and isolation, causing many families to feel burned out. On the one hand, ready for life to go back to “normal” and, on the other, nervous because no one knows what “normal life” looks like just yet.

“The coronavirus vaccine hopes to “normalize” life for young people and bring them back to school, activities, and friends. But we can’t underestimate how destabilizing reentry will be.” Dr. Harold S. Koplewicz

It’s these moments that test parents like no other. We’re doing the best we can, even when faced with a once-in-a-lifetime extraordinary event. It’s going to be difficult, but we have to trust the strength of the scaffolds we’ve built around our children, not only during this time but throughout their lives. There will be anxiety and uncertainty, bumps and bruises, but there will be beauty when we let go, and exploration begins again.

What is different is the emotional toll, and collective anxiety children have experienced due to the disrupted learning and social isolation caused by COVID-19. To scaffold an anxious child, What is scaffold parenting? It could be the key to help kids adjust to post-pandemic life, encourages the following:

  • Support children with empathy, validation, and intervention. 
  • Structure routines and schedules to give a child a sense of security. 
  • Most importantly, encourage kids to get back into the social fray via exposure to human interaction.

Therapy programs at Zier Institute help children strengthen social skills, manage anxiety, big feelings, and emotional regulation. Through individual sessions, group therapy, and social groups, the occupational therapists at Zier Institute can help families and children discover what post-pandemic possibilities lie ahead.