covid19 impact children anxiety

Impact of COVID19 Children

COVID19 has been an unprecedented time in our history with impacts felt far and wide across all aspects of our lives. Without doubt, COVID19 has affected everyone irrespective of age. Children, it can be argued, have been impacted more heavily as a result of undertaking learning from home and through the lack of socialisation that school so effectively delivers. But as with everything, not every child is impacted the same way. Some children might not be very concerned, whereas others have developed a range of negative responses including fear of dying or losing family members to the disease. Children have different personalities, responses to negative situations and levels of resilience, which affect their overall health, mental health and wellbeing. Evidence over the past 2 years of the pandemic has shown that some children have developed higher levels of stress and anxiety, showed signs of restlessness, being defiant or continually grumpy or irritable. Given how long COVID19 has lasted and the resultant impact on lack of socialisation and isolation resulting from lockdowns, feelings of sadness or depression may have appeared in your child, with bouts of prolonged crying or sadness. Feelings experienced by children, which may be completely foreign or new, can display in physical reactions including upset stomachs, headaches, and loss of appetite.

Getting help for your child

If you are concerned about your child, it is important to speak to a professional. Here at On Track Psychology, we have extensive experience orking with children impacted psychologically by COVID19.

However, there are many other things you can do as a parent as summarised below:

  1. Talk to your children. Ask them how they are feeling, what’s happening with friends or at school. Be observant, and look for any unusual changes in inhabits or routines. It is always important to listen, don’t judge – be there when your child needs you.
  2. Make your child feel special. Do something together, plan it together and always follow through. It can be as simple as going to the park, for a walk or out for a meal or shopping together.
  3.  Let your children play free and undirected, as children’s play is essential for their emotional well-being, especially in these times. Where possible, encourage play with siblings or friends. Play is known to have a beneficial impact on a child’s cognitive and social development.
  4. Let your children be physically active, as exercise increases their psychological and physical wellbeing, whilst at the same time reducing stress hormones. Climb a tree, kick a ball – play hide and seek and have fun.
  5. A technique that can reduce mental and emotional stress in young people is mindful breathing. Teach your children to observe their breathing and take deep breaths together. A common technique undertaken in psychology therapy sessions is to lay down, place a cuddly toy on your belly, and watch the toy slowly move up and down as you inhale and exhale.
  6. Make sure your children maintain a social life and stay in contact with their friends, extended family and if possible their grandparents. Help them to write letters, draw pictures to send to family, and make phone calls or connect using computer technologies such as ZOOM. They will be happy to see that everything is okay, and be positively reassured at seeing loved family members.
  7. Practice your own self-reflection as a parent and caregiver. Find time for yourself and ask yourself and fellow parents or caregivers how you feel? Are you anxious, depressed or feeling stressed? Do you find yourself constantly worrying about others and neglecting your own mental health and wellbeing? Remember, there is no shame is seeking help yourself, noting strongly that if you are unwell, you can’t take care of your children.

On Track Psychology Brisbane

child psychologist brisbane

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