Covid-19 impact on mental health: The corona pandemic has affected everyone. This has also affected the mental health of the people. Like any adult, in an epidemic-like situation, children can also be surrounded by stress, nervousness and worries.
Some of the challenges that children are facing during this pandemic are:
- Change in routine, not being able to meet your friends.
- School interruption in studies.
- Unable to get health checkup done.
- Increased screen time and decreased interaction with others.
- Not being able to attend birthdays, festivals or any other family event.
- Death of a parent or a relative from Corona.
- Parent’s job loss.
- instability at home.
Why does stress happen?
In this era of digital technology, through different platforms, children have access to such information, which can cause them stress. If you can’t go out, don’t meet your friends, can’t go to school, then it adds to the tension. Parents are also under stress and when they show it, it also affects the children.
Impact on children under three years of age
- Lack of conversation, delay in speaking.
- Depression- Preferring to stay at home.
- Anger and hyper-activity.
- Panic when parents are in isolation or quarantine.
- Constant fear and extreme sadness.
school going children
- Anger and hyperactivity due to change in routine and reduced contact and interaction with friends, peers.
- Increased screen time, increased violent behavior from viewing violent pictures.
- Unusual behavior because of spending more time on the phone.
- Anxiety because of uncertainty.
- Sleep deprivation or trouble falling asleep.
- Panic due to lack of certainty about exams and their future
- panic attack
Helping children deal with stress
One must remain calm and choose their concerns and reassure them.
role of parents
- The main role and responsibility of parents is to provide safe and better environment, where they can live in their own way.
- You should spend more and more time with children.
- Stay calm even with other members at home and avoid any verbal, physical violence.
- Provide them with the right information at the right time.
- Depending on the age of the children, involve them in household chores.
- Spending time in arts and crafts to reduce screen time.
- Having lunch or dinner with family.
- Keep gadgets away from the dining table.
- Pay attention to what the children are watching on the TV or screen.
- Set a bedtime.
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role of teachers
- give correct information.
- Dispelling myths.
- Identifying any unusual behavior.
- Giving short breaks in screen time during class.
- Encouraging non-academic things in the class.
- Regular interaction with parents.
(By Dr. Suresh Kumar Panuganti, Lead Consultant – Pediatric Critical Care and Pediatrics, Yashoda Hospitals, Hyderabad.)