Children’s Mental Health in the Pandemic Situation

We all entered the year 2020 with a smile, some of us imagining this year to be “our year”, the year where we get the opportunity to travel the world, meet new people, go on adventures, get a promotion, explore different subjects, graduate with our friends and family and to finally find ourselves to be a little closer to our goals. However, little did we know that the whole world would be on lockdown starting from the third month of this year and for most of the year itself.

The pandemic has affected the whole world in different ways. It has affected a diversity of individuals all around and a part of the population which has severely been affected due to this situation are the children. Children form the youngest group of a large population. Imagine how this pandemic must have been for them in terms of being completely isolated from their friends at such a young age, to transfer their learning experience from engaging in and around a school environment with their teachers and classmates onto learning with the help of electronic gadgets, and to gain all their insight and information through the internet rather than being present in real life situations. There also exist instances where the child is merely given homework and classwork without any concrete explanation of the concepts. This affects the quality of education they deserve which can lead them to feel even more anxious and frustrated as they lack the ability to understand what they need to do and there is no understanding of the concept.

These are just a few instances, let’s look at it from another perspective as well. Children are now confined in their homes instead of being able to go outside to the park and engage in different physical activities which are essential for their well-being. They were unable to attend their favorite summer camps due to a virus which disrupted the world in the most drastic ways, they were forced to have constant interaction with their family members which can be extremely claustrophobic and have a negative impact after a certain point.

Some children may not have the best relationship with their parents and constantly interacting only with them could have led to a further deterioration to the child’s mental well-being. Furthermore, being in complete contact with the same individuals on a daily basis can be monotonous especially because of the huge age difference between the parent and the child. It is essential for a child to be in an environment and around people whom he/she can connect and engage with productively. Another reason which can deeply affect a child’s mental health in accordance to being surrounded with their parents is that most of the times, the parent’s own work stress and frustration gets transferred onto the child leading to an intolerable and negative environment for the child to live in.

Let us focus on the fact that when such a young child is made to stay away from his friends, confined to his home constantly in front of a screen, we can only imagine the effects it has on the way they feeling and the way they have to deal with such a difficult situation. A situation like this can be categorized as “traumatic” for the child which as he/she grows up can shape him/her in the most positive or negative way in accordance to their family environment as well as their level of resilience and how they choose to perceive such a situation. This, however, is beyond their capability to understand as most of the time they’re too young to even be aware of why some things happen the way they do. The child is therefore, more likely to experience feelings of anxiety and depression. The children who were already seeking therapy to deal with certain mental health issues may be experiencing an even more difficult time which makes it essential for them to be in constant contact with their therapist even if it’s through a zoom video call. However, if we look at it realistically, not every child has the means to seek help from a professional therapist. There is a possibility that the family environment is not accepting of the child’s treatment which can lead to further deterioration of their mental health.

Now as we read through this article, we can imagine the drastic changes which can be caused in the mental health and well-being of the child.

What can you do about it?

  • As parents and older siblings, it is important to create a space for your child or your brother/sister in order to make them feel more included.
  • What we as family members can do to avoid or alter such situations and disruptions in the child’s life is to simply be aware and take an initiative to make that extra effort to take that extra mile with them.
  • It is possible for parents to create different activities for them over the weekends – it could be a small treasure hunt or playing different board games as a family, or even playing the world famous game of throwing the ball and catching it.
  • Such activities will help to maintain some amount of activity around the child with an interconnected feelings with their parents too. It will help the child to engage in something other than screen time which they’re compelled to do due to their online classes.
  • Sometimes, when the child is studying alone, they could experience feelings of loneliness and confusion and therefore, it’s recommended that parents give the child at least an hour in which they can engage with them and study with them in an interactive manner.
  • Most importantly, talk to your child/children, communicate with them, listen to them so that they know that they have someone with whom they can talk openly and who will be present to listen to how they’re feeling. This can help to build trust as well as lead to alleviating stress and anxiety the children/child may be struggling with to a large extent.

Taking small steps like these can make their environment less prone to negativity and inculcate some amount of positivity. It’s important for the child to not feel neglected despite the amount of work load a parent carries. By making time for your child and empathizing with them on how they did not get the opportunity to explore the things you, as a child got to do back when you were their age can help to change your perspective as well as your actions. As family members, we can do the best we can by staying encouraging and maintaining a sense of togetherness.

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4 thoughts on “Children’s Mental Health in the Pandemic Situation

  1. As a parent, this article gave me so much perspective in terms of where I am going wrong and what changes I can make to create a wholesome environment at home. Thank you so much for this, extremely helpful.

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