Cabin syndrome: how to help children and adolescents

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The hut syndrome and how to get out of it

After two months of lockdown, not everyone was ready and excited about leaving the house. We are talking about the so-called hut syndrome.

Because it feels good at home

The reasons are different: the recovery of a slow pace, the sharing of time and space with children and family members, the discovery of small daily pleasures, the sense of protection of the four domestic walls that we have come to appreciate in this period, alongside the fear for what awaits us out there and for what the future, so uncertain, will hold for us.

Meaning of hut syndrome

The desire to continue to remain in one's refuge is said prisoner or hut syndrome: this is not a real disorder, but one response associated with a particular condition linked to a long period of seclusion, like the Coronavirus pandemic. We talk about it with the Doctor Anna Guerrini Usubini, clinical psychologist ofIRCCS Auxologico Del Paeseno Institute of our city.

In this article

  • How to react: adaptation and flexibility
  • The restart of the children
  • The needs of adolescents
  • Parents, a path to recovery

How to react: adaptation and flexibility against the hut syndrome

"Fear and fear in such conditions are more than normal - the Doctor reassures -. Coronavirus is in effect a traumatic event, and as such it needs understanding and interpretation. We must not deny fear, but accept it and begin to take back our life a little at a time, following the instructions of the authorities and learning to listen to oneself, observing how it feels when you start leaving the house again. The keywords are adaptation e flexibility: the human being is able to reshape his behavior in the face of new situations. The important is don't expect to find everything exactly as we left it, but on the contrary be ready to encounter a changed environment and to implement different actions ".

Read also: Coronavirus, "phase 2". Parents at work, schools and kindergartens closed until September

The restart of the children

Help yourself with:

  • rituals
  • communication
  • reassurance

"Children, more than anyone else, need to rituals. So, just as during the lockdown many have found a way to organize the day by marking rhythms and commitments, the recovery will also have to recreate new patterns. Equally fundamental is the communication and reassurance: it is useless to pretend nothing has happened, children understand everything. Explain the situation well to them, obviously using a understandable language, and never stop reassuring them: they must perceive themselves in a safe environment, at home, at school or outside. The players will also play a very important role in this teachers, when the school will resume, and with it the social relations that all, including children, have had to give up in this period ".

Read also: Pregnancy and postpartum: how to manage the concern of expectant mothers in the time of the Coronavirus

How to fight the hut syndrome: the needs of adolescents

"For the kids, the lockdown was a tough test, and the restart, with a thousand precautions to keep in mind, will be no less. teens it is vital the relationship with the peer group, physical contact, discovery, the group, the affirmation of oneself, of one's own identity. For this, it will be very strong in them the desire to run outside: make sure they are aware of the importance of the rules to be respected. This is an opportunity to strengthen the sense of responsibility, the awareness that everyone's behavior has consequences for the entire community ".

Read also: Letter to teenagers in the days of the coronavirus

Hut Syndrome: Parents

"Crucial right now, for adults, it is to treasure what has been learned in recent months, so as to better face the restart by overcoming the fear of leaving the home shelter. What have we discovered or rediscovered in this time? An interest, a passion, a sense of time, of relationships, for example. Now, why would we have to go back to the frenetic pace before? We try to maintain, as far as possible and compatibly with our work commitments, what good this condition of constraint has offered us ".

Attention to meaning and to small things

"We don't even lose attention to little things: whether it's talking to your children or carving out a moment for yourself (even for physical activity at home), let's not let go of these new habits, if we have discovered that they make us feel good. To overcome a traumatic event it is essential to give it meaning, insert it into your life with a meaning: this experience has allowed us to reflect, to ask ourselves what kind of people we want to be and what life we ​​want to have. This is the point from which to start again: now it's up to us to put the pieces back together, to rearrange things after a gust of wind that has thrown everything away. We must not erase what has been, but acknowledge it and reconstruct what we had with a new form thanks to the integration of a break but also very significant event in the life of each of us ".


The doctor Anna Guerrini Usubini she is a clinical psychologist ofIRCCS Auxologico Del Paeseno Institute of our city.

  • fears of children
  • coronavirus
  • 3-5 children years
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