How Children Have Been Impacted by COVID

COVID-19 was an extremely challenging and trying time for many individuals. While quarantine, masks, and sanitizing are all decreasing in severity, the lasting effects of the pandemic still remain. Children growing up during this time have had different experiences than adults. Losing social connections, extracurricular actives, and fearing public places and crowds can have damaging impacts on a child’s development.

Effects of COVID

The pandemic has affected many different areas of life. As if being a child wasn’t hard enough, we now live in a much different world. Adjusting at a young age can provide some new challenges that children are struggling to face.

Disruption in Routines

Developing and following a routine is important for children. It helps them learn responsibility, structure, and regulation. Having this disrupted can cause emotional instability and confusion. During the height of the pandemic, when everyone was stuck indoors, children lost their sense of following order and routine, ultimately making them more irritable with no place to release their pent up energy.

Social Isolation

An important milestone in child development is learning social skills. Mostly, children learn these by going to school and engaging in organized activities. COVID put a stop to any in-person gatherings, meaning that children were not exposed to social interactions as much as they could have been. Being taught to fear going near people can create social anxiety and limit the development of social skills.

Another issue is the overuse of technology. Children who had access to the internet learned to socialize with people virtually. Bering so reliant on screens also impacts social skills and enhances isolation.

Anxiety and Depression

The pandemic caused a spike of mental health issues, specifically anxiety and depression. Children began to experience these symptoms after months of staying inside. Not having outlets outside of their homes to socialize, express themselves, and practice skills made children learn to suppress thoughts and feelings internally.

Academic Difficulties

Many, if not all, schools transferred to an online platform so children could stay safe in their homes while still attending classes. Throughout this time, kids picked up on unhealthy study habits, lost motivation to turn in assignments, and had a hard time focusing in classes that were held online. They became so used to this way of learning, that a lot of children struggled with the adjustment back into in-person schooling. Even today, kids have a more difficult time staying on track and focusing in school.

Increased Health Concerns

The lasting effects of COVID are still being discovered, but as children grow and develop in this post-pandemic society, it is possible that other health effects start to become present. The fear of the unknown can impact stress levels as well as mental health symptoms. Children may develop an intense fear of germs or constantly feel worried about their physical health.

How to Help

It can be difficult for parents to watch children struggle in this new world, but there are ways to help! First, make sure your child feels well supported and validated. Educate them on the reality of the pandemic, how to stay safe and healthy, and also how the pandemic affects everyone, and that they are not alone. Encourage them to still engage in fun activities and make friends with other kids at school.

If you are struggling with your child’s mental health, it may be beneficial to seek help from a professional. Therapists can help support your child in a safe environment and help them through the negative mental effects of COVID. Family therapy is also an option where you can learn skills together and find solutions on how to move forward. Reach out and schedule a session today!