Going to school can be tough for any child or teen during this phase in their lives. They’re discovering themselves and where they fit in a sea of opportunities. Attending school can be especially tough when they are experiencing concussion symptoms. These symptoms can make your child or teen feel socially isolated because other children or teens don’t understand why they can no longer participate in gym class or why their class schedule has changed. It can be tough for your child to explain why things have changed or they might feel embarrassed about the changes that happened at school.
Your child or teen likely just wants to feel normal and fit in (we all remember feeling this way through this stage in our lives), but their concussion symptoms interfere with being able to have a normal life.
It is vital for children and teens to maintain a social life. Having a social life helps with your child’s development and building skills. Friendships are crucial for mental health and personal adjustment. Even if your child cannot tolerate certain social and school activities, encourage them to engage in social activities as much as they can tolerate without triggering or intensifying their concussion symptoms.
As a parent, you want what is best for your child and watch them thrive in life. It can be incredibly difficult to watch your child’s social life virtually deteriorate from a concussion diagnosis. Providing opportunities for your child to engage socially is a way to help your child maintain a form of the social life they had before the concussion diagnosis. If your child had a reduced school schedule, have them attend a class that is around lunchtime so they can socialize with their friends. If your child is involved in sports but has not been medically cleared to return to play, you can drop your child off at practice and see what ways your child can help so they can spend time with the team. If your child is involved in extracurricular activities, see what they can do to remain involved.
Another way you can help your child or teen maintain a social life is by creating social opportunities for them. For example, have their teammates or classmates over for a movie or game night. Plan activities for your child to do with their friends so they don’t lose contact and begin feeling isolated or alone from their peers.
Recovery Requires Patience
Recovery takes time and patience. It is not going to happen overnight, which is why patience required. Patience means taking things one day at a time, and every time it feels like your child is knocked down help them get back up, and then help them keep moving forward. Being persistent, and continually pressing forward even when it seems all odds are against them will help your child’s recovery progress.
The best way of supporting your injured child or teen is to keep supporting them, loving them and providing opportunities for them to remain socially active with their peers. The goal is your child won’t feel like they need to be embarrassed or isolated from their friends because of their injury.
We understand that the road to recovery is not straightforward or easy. We want to recognize you and the tremendous strength you have for caring for the person you love. We want to thank you for helping them believe things can get better, and for caring enough about them to do what it takes to keep them going every day, even when it seems like they have lost hope on having a normal quality of life.
We hope that you can see just how essential your role plays in their recovery and that every win is a colossal win. Because a win is made up of a series of small opportunities, choices, and steps. These opportunities, choices, and steps could not have been made without your loving support and encouragement.