Ever since the outbreak of the novel coronavirus, children have started to feel anxious, bored, uncertain, and isolated due to lack of activity and nationwide school closures. Some children and teenagers have also felt fear and grief over the impact that Covid-19 has had on their lives. In this article, we will discuss how Covid-19 has impacted the lives of children and teenagers across the world.
The outbreak of Covid-19 has disrupted the lives of many children and teens worldwide. The pandemic has brought with it a sense of anxiety and uncertainty as the world is struggling while preparing for or predicting the course of the crisis. It has tremendously increased the levels of stress among students in general, including children, teenagers, and young adults, primarily due to the nationwide closure of schools in many countries.
The stress can easily lead to undesired psychological health effects and impaired learning and development of these young minds. Children exposed to these events can become victims of panic attacks, anxiety, mood disorders, depression, and other mental health illnesses. Certain distressing events, such as being separated from friends and family, passing away of their loved ones, seeing or being aware of critical Covid-19 patients, and even thinking of themselves catching the virus, can have adverse effects on the mental health of these kids.
Moreover, the regular healthy routine of many children has been disrupted, which contributes to additional stress and sleeping issues that also impact the parents of these children. Uncertainty of future academics, personal relationships, activities, and ambitions due to the pandemic is posing a significant threat to their wellbeing and putting them at risk of drug abuse in future.
Covid-19 has the potential to leave detrimental effects on the health and wellbeing of children and teens just like any other traumatic event. It can lead to higher rates of post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, and depression. This raises fear in children because the virus threatens everyone they care about, especially when they see their parents working from home.
The proof of this can be found in the outcome of previous pandemics in the past, such as the Ebola virus that caused severe emotional distress among children and teenagers. Plus, a study on Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) revealed that 25% of the patients showed signs of post-traumatic stress disorder.
A Word from Psychiatrists and Educators
Dr. Darleen Claire Wodzenski explains the strategies that can be used to ease trauma, support effective behaviors, and promote healthy socialization to help cut down the negative effects of Covid-19 on children and teens.
Educators and health professionals are urging parents to develop appropriate practices to bring children back to their healthy rhythm, even if schools are shut down. A powerful intervention program and engaging on the internet in a meaningful way are some of the methods that parents can use to help their children feel a sense of normalcy in their lives.
Teachers have been working hard to ensure that online learning platforms are as interactive as possible to make children and teens feel like it is a classroom environment. However, many educators have objected to online learning as it does not allow students to maintain focus and engage as they normally would in a classroom.
Parenting Tips to Deal with Covid-19?
Talk about Covid-19
Secrets and silence never protect our children. Be willing to talk about Covid-19 openly with your kids. Think about how much they will understand and be open, honest, and supportive. It is also okay to not have all of the answers to the questions your kids ask. Take this moment as an opportunity to learn something new and bond with your child.
It is absolutely normal to feel overwhelmed and stressed due to the closure of schools and workplaces. But if you look on the bright side, it is actually an opportunity to build better relationships with your children and rebellious teenagers. One-on-One time is fun and free. It also makes children feel secure, valued, and loved.
Keep a Positive Attitude
It is hard to stay positive when your children are driving you crazy. But children are more likely to act and do what we ask when you give them positive affirmation and explain things to them calmly. Start praising your kids when they do something right and politely explain to them when they do something wrong.
Covid-19 has probably ruined everyone’s routine around the house, but there is a way to fix that. Make your kids go to bed early (like they would on a school night) and wake up early (like they would for school). Make them attend online classes and take notes and try to maintain the routine you had before the pandemic.
Learn Through Play
Learning through play is an excellent opportunity for parents and children to engage in effective learning by playing games, singing, dancing, etc. Your kids will engage in learning, and you get to have some fun too!
Take a Break
Being stuck at home for long hours can take a toll on anyone’s mental health. Reward yourself and your kids with a break and do something fun to relax and unwind. If you are dealing with teenagers, be sure to offer extra support as well as their space because they will need it. Allow them to express themselves independently during these tough times.
Long-Term Impact of Covid-19 on Children and Teens
The long-term impact of Covid-19 on children and teens can be disastrous if not dealt with effectively. Children need support, care, and a lot of counseling to get through these difficult times. The after-effects of Covid-19 can cause many children and teenagers to become frustrated and rebellious, which can have drastic consequences. Therefore, it is crucial to carefully deal with the critical situation to avoid any undesirable effects.