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How to help your kids cope with missing out on summer events amid coronavirus

As we head into summer, we talked to an expert about how to help your kids cope with the concept of missing out on activities amid the coronavirus.

CLEVELAND — Summer usually means a packed schedule with graduations, vacations, sports and birthday parties.

But right now, things are still in limbo because of COVID-19.

3News’ Hollie Strano talked to clinical health psychologist, Dr. Lori Stevic-Rust, about how to talk to kids about missing out on activities.

“What would your suggestion be to moms and dads about coping with their children? Especially now that we are entering into summer and we're being told it's OK to go to pools, it's OK to go to bowling alleys, I mean that's some scary stuff,” Strano said.

“I would start with just because we're told that it is ‘OK,’ doesn't mean that it's really OK, meaning safe,” says Dr. Stevic-Rust.

She said our choices can be made by weighing the risks and benefits.

“We’ll go back to, ‘I'm not willing to tolerate the risk of being in a bowling alley, but I am willing to tolerate the risk of being at a private pool where I know that I can separate myself.’”

Another issue that may come up is your child seeing other kids participate in activities that you don’t feel safe allowing them to do yet.

“It just comes back to the hard but important parenting message which is, ‘I get that Tina's family is doing this and it looks really unfair, and it feels awful that I am saying we can't do that. But at the end of the day, my job is to keep you safe, to keep grandpa safe.’”

Dr. Stevic-Rust says kids will be able to wrap their head around the concept that their actions of avoiding contact with others, can help save a life.

She also cautions parents about trying to “fix” the situation, and says that it’s OK to let kids feel sad about missing out.

“There's no question about it, especially as a mom. Nobody wants to watch their children miss out on graduation and homecoming and prom or volleyball. We want to fix, we want to make it OK….I think we do our kids a great disservice when we do that,” says Dr. Stevic-Rust.

“Sometimes we just need to sit with what feels sad. And that's part of the grief. There's an enormous amount of grieving everything that we're missing. From the little, to the really, really big things.”

For more advice from Dr. Stevic-Rust, you can check out her site here.

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