Parents of children under 5 react to the possible availability of Covid-19 vaccines

That means curbing play appointments and school attendance when cases are higher, an inconsistency that can frustrate the child, she said.

“‘Sometimes you say it’s okay to go, and sometimes you say no,'” Rai said that his son complains to him.

Covid-19 vaccines have meant many steps closer to normal for much for the United States, but not everyone has access yet.

Parenting young children can be as isolating as it is, said Vaile Wright, senior director of health innovation at the American Psychological Association. Add precautions to protect unvaccinated children and it can be even more difficult to get community support. Research shows that parents of children under the age of 18 have reported extremely high levels of stress during the pandemic, she said.

While some families hesitate or refuse to vaccinate their children, for many the news brings a huge sigh of relief.

“It’s not that I expect a miracle vaccine, as if as soon as I receive it it will run out,” Rai said. “He could get Covid, he could get hit, but the worst case scenario wouldn’t happen. This is my ultimate goal for my son.”

Some families who have felt left behind and are eagerly awaiting their children’s vaccinations have shared what it was like to raise young people during the Covid-19 pandemic and what they most hope for in the future.

The world has forgotten them

For Jennifer Reimers Gaydo, who lives in upstate New York, forgetting is the word that comes to mind when raising a child during the Covid-19 era.

“Everyone else has moved on, and we haven’t,” he said. “In people’s desire to move forward, it’s almost as if they’ve blocked (the fear of not being vaccinated).”

Reimers Gaydo’s husband is a doctor, so their family reduces the risk to their 3-year-old son Jim wherever possible.

“My husband is a frontline worker, so with Jim unvaccinated it’s like, ‘Is he coming to my house for me?'” She added.

Precautions mean no more music and movement lessons, limited playtime with children of her age, and her relationship with grandparents reduced to a computer screen.

There was excitement and fanfare when adults got access to the vaccine, then when it was extended to teenagers, but younger members of our population spent all this time alone and ignored, he said.

Am I preventing my children from being themselves?

Along with fears of physical safety and concerns about social needs, parenting during the pandemic without a vaccine available means constant conversations between families about whether they are doing the right things for their children, said Jason Jackson of Michigan.

One of Jackson’s three children is not yet eligible to be vaccinated, but until his youngest is protected, his 7-year-old son and 5-year-old daughter must also take precautions to protect their little brother, he said. None of them go to school in person and none of them take indoor swimming lessons.

“My daughter, she’s really outgoing. And so, I stopped at the playground and she said, ‘Yes, there’s a car here, that means I can meet a new friend. This is the best day of mine. life! ‘”Jackson recalled. “It was bloody depressing.”

“We were like, ‘Oh my god, what are we holding our kids from?'”

Getting a vaccine for their 3-year-old son would be a huge relief from the battle between physical and social health for their children, he said.

“I honestly think everyone wants the same things. Everyone wants things to get back to normal. It’s just that we have a very, very different path to what we think is best to get there,” Jackson said. “Our best path back to normal is this vaccine.”

He knows he can get sick

Sometimes, even when playing outdoors, Sarah Enders’ 4-year-old daughter chooses to wear a mask.

She was diagnosed with leukemia about a year ago and knows that having Covid-19 could make her really sick, Enders in Oregon said.

Olivia (right), 4, wears a mask while playing outdoors with her 20-month-old sister Abigail (left).Olivia (right), 4, wears a mask while playing outdoors with her 20-month-old sister Abigail (left).

“He understands that there are things he can’t do due to the fact that he doesn’t have the option,” he added.

Her diagnosis came as the rest of the United States began reopening from Covid-19, but Enders’ family had to crack down even more for her daughter’s safety.

“You go through the diagnosis of your child who has cancer, and that’s when you really have to rely on the world around you and your community,” she said, “whether it’s emotional support or physical support, and we really couldn’t. do it because we had to keep it protected. “

His family can’t wait for everyone in the house to have the vaccine in the hope of being able to send their children back to school.

“I struggle with people who aren’t willing to get vaccinated, don’t want to wear masks and things like that because they feel it’s their right not to,” Enders said. “But our children who don’t have this option and that flexibility are the ones who suffer from it.”

We have no choice

Gabriele Goulet and his family started both parenting and the pandemic in a terrifying way.

On March 12, 2020, his first child was born premature and he couldn’t breathe on his own, so he needed to stay in the NICU. Shortly thereafter, their state, Utah, was closed due to Covid-19.

Gabriele Goulet (far right) and her husband (left) spend time outdoors with their son.Gabriele Goulet (far right) and her husband (left) spend time outdoors with their son.

Goulet and her husband drove every day along empty highways to see their son in the hospital, enter the building where the National Guard was deployed to help with the virus request, she said.

“Becoming a parent during that time really shaped the kind of parent I am, and I’m probably overprotective,” Goulet said.

They locked themselves up when their first child was born and remained as isolated as possible as the years went by and had their second child, she said.

But now that her second maternity leave has ended, she and her husband have to go back to their offices and their children will have to go to kindergarten after years of not even walking into grocery stores, she said.

Goulet and her husband are concerned about transitioning from isolation with two unvaccinated children, she said. Now, she said she just hopes they can avoid infection until the children are eligible for the vaccine.

“I totally understand and respect other people’s views as if it looks like these vaccines are coming out pretty quickly,” Goulet said, but he trusts his pediatrician’s advice to get the vaccinations.

“I think we will probably cry when we are in the pediatrician’s office because we have been looking forward to this for more than two years.”

Top image: Gabriele Goulet’s son spends time with his father distancing himself from his grandparents. (Courtesy of Gabriele Goulet)