With the coronavirus being a constant threat to people’s lives, most people live in fear – whether we’re referring to their fear of getting infected themselves, or someone close to them getting infected. But adults are not the only ones feeling the heavy burden of the pandemic – children are feeling it too.
Now that community fitness classes are not possible anymore, schools are closed and access outdoors is either limited or forbidden, kids are in a challenging situation. Life as they knew it doesn’t exist anymore, because a virus is going around the world making victims. Many times, kids cannot understand the threat and want to meet their friends just like before, see their relatives, and attend their kids’ workout program.
Children’s mental health is very fragile during these trying times and you need to be aware of this to take care of them. So, how exactly does the coronavirus affect kids’ mental health?
The Issue with an Only Child
If you have more than one child, then things may be a little better because they can consume their energy levels playing together. However, an only child may end up feeling alone during these pandemic times. That happens especially if the parent is not the type to spend too much time playing with him/her or doesn’t have enough energy to spend with the child. What’s even worse is that after school fitness programs may not even be a thing anymore due to the restrictive measures, giving even more limited options for spending all that energy.
Having an extroverted child can be a big challenge for a parent if the parent is not extroverted as well. Thus, the child might end up feeling alone during these times. They may be the type to shine in social situations, rather than between four walls for so long.
An extroverted child may be afraid of such a big change and will be confused and even depressed once they have to deal with this kind of situation.
This is why parents need to connect with the child and spend as much time together as possible. Playing together is necessary, you can even look up some kid exercise videos online for free if you want more ways to spend your child’s energy.
Ordering some fitness products online can make the workout more enjoyable and the parents can even join the child. This would be a great way to make the child feel better and also connect.
Excessive Worrying and Fear
Many children might fear the fact that they may be let without food. Kids from low-income families have it very bad considering their parents might not have a job anymore and working from home may not be possible either. Even if they don’t show it, children may be worried and afraid of the hunger they would have to experience if things get worse. This constant fear could give them a lot of anxiety and might even affect their focus on academic activities.
Other kids might live in fear of child abuse if they are part of abusive families. In some situations, parents may have constant arguments that end up in verbal abuse or physical violence, and children have to live in that unhealthy environment.
Going outside with their friends or going to school might have been their escape from an abusive household, but if that’s not possible anymore, kids would be forced to live with parents/tutors that abuse them physically and/or verbally. Not only will this give them anxiety during the entire pandemic but may also lead to them developing mental illnesses such as depression.
Bad Sleep Patterns
Without any fitness program for kids, they may not end up consuming all the energy and will be forced to spend more time indoors. By doing that, they will most likely spend a lot of time watching TV, playing on their computer or using their phone. Developing bad sleep patterns is possible unless the parents get involved and limit the time the child spends on electronic devices. This can be quite difficult considering there’s nothing else to do.
If the child doesn’t get enough sleep, he/she will end up sleep deprived. This could make them lose focus for important tasks and even give them anxiety in some cases.
Unhappiness Due to Lost Connections
Calling your family and friends is easy nowadays with so much technology available, but it’s not the same as meeting them in person. Children need to connect with people and form bonds, because humans are social beings. Although it’s nice to spend some time alone now and then, spending time with other people is essential for your child’s happiness.
This is why the lockdown and/or restrictive measures could have a great impact on your kid’s mental health if there’s no way to see their grandparents or friends for a long time. Although they will have their parents, they will not fully understand why suddenly their lives have changed and they cannot do what they used to in the past. Your kid’s mental wellbeing can be greatly affected if he/she used to be very social in general.
Avoiding the Activities They Once Enjoyed
Your child may be a little artist, or he may be a good gamer. Although he/she has a certain hobby, things tend to change during the pandemic. Especially during these hard times, your little ones may lose the interest they once had in activities they used to enjoy. They might even end up avoiding them. This is often a symptom of depression, which is likely to occur during the coronavirus pandemic.
Without spending their time outdoors with their friends or engaging in other activities that don’t involve staying between four walls, they can easily lose interest. Children may end up getting bored with things very easily as it is, but the pandemic and lockdown make it even more likely to happen. This is why it’s important to diversify children’s activities as much as possible.
The Covid-19 pandemic can affect children even more than it affects adults. So, it’s important to understand them and their needs and take measures to prevent them from developing mental illnesses. Communicating, playing together, and even having a fitness workout together may help cope with the pandemic much better.