As the new school year approaches, children are suffering from heightened levels of stress due to COVID-19. The changing health protocols and social restrictions make it difficult for many to come to terms with the pandemic. While it’s an alarming issue, it’s notunheard-offor young people to suffer frompsychosocialissues during such a massive global health crisis.
The Ebola outbreak is a prime example of this. Plenty of people claimed to struggle with depression and anxiety throughout the epidemic. Similarly, the swine flu outbreak revealed that children who experienced mental health issues are vulnerable to the same problems because of COVID-19.
To effectively care for your children’s mental health while the pandemic lasts, it’s integral that you possess a good understanding of what exactly is causing them.
Straying from What’s Normal
Health protocols imposed several limitations on children. One of the most difficult they had to deal with initially would be their separation from certain family and friends. This is followed by the cancellation of activities they used to enjoy, like summer outings and slumber parties. Your annual trip overseas could’ve also been canceled, which dampened their hopes of sightseeing and trying new activities. All that they were looking forward to is now replaced with idle time at home, trying to tick off the hours bybinge-watching on Netflix.
They might not be throwing tantrums or explicitly voicing their dismay, but there are other signs that they’re more stressed than they show. This includes changes in sleeping habits, difficulty concentrating, restlessness, and unexplained stomachaches. When people reach their tipping point, anxiety and depression will begin to show physical symptoms.
Parents can help them by taking them out for meaningful activities. Sign them up for piano lessons for children. Take cooking lessons together. Facilities that are open during the pandemic follow strict health protocols and limit personal interactions, so you can be sure that there’s a reduced risk to your children’s health. Go to tourist sights that aren’t crowded, and practice regular sanitation throughout the trip. Even a hint of normalcy will do their mental health a lot of good.
Hearing Too Much Negative News
Overexposure to the news through television or social media is never a good thing for anyone, especially young people. It might trigger paranoia, and the uncertainty about their health and that of their loved ones can trigger anxiety.
Factor in the mandatory masks and social distancing, and you’ll have children constantlyfrettingover every little thing. Instead of dismissing their concerns, it’s best to acknowledge them. Don’t tell them that they’re overreacting. Help them communicate their worries and come up with solutions that will allow them some peace of mind.
Limit their time watching the news and scrolling through their social media, and replace that with stress-free activities. Do artworks together, which is scientifically proven to improve mental health, or learn to play the piano alongside them. This gives you other things to talk about and bond over, divert their attention from the pandemic.
Every Child Is Different
Just because it’s easy on your older child to cut back on social interactions doesn’t mean it should be easy on your younger child as well. The same applies to whatever their individual feelings are about distance learning and wearing masks. Acknowledge the different ways the pandemic affects them and work together to find healthy ways to cope.