Is the Pandemic Affecting your Child’s Mental Health and Learning?
The COVID-19 pandemic has undoubtedly affected children in many ways. In particular, schools have closed worldwide, resulting in over 1.2 billion children out of a classroom. There has been a rise in e-learning, where teaching is conducted remotely via digital platforms until children can safely return to in-person learning. While research suggests that online learning has benefits, including an increased retention of information learned, there can also be detrimental effects on children’s mental health and learning.
Whether it be socially or academically, challenges are bound to arise. With the ongoing pandemic, more stressors are added to children, making them feel new worries about bringing germs home, or they might find it challenging to adapt to changes in school routine and classmates. Humans by nature are social beings, and with multiple lockdowns and endless days indoors, reducing the feeling of isolation in children can be quite tricky. With a lot of uncertainty of future lockdowns and whether online school will be the new normal, mental health issues have become more prominent in children. In fact, children are reporting that their mental health has been heavily impacted by the pandemic, especially those children that had pre-existing mental illnesses and special needs.
Of course, children’s adjustment to a new school format is dependent on age and a child’s personality or temperament; however, it’s good to be cognizant of potential signs of declining mental health in our youth. Some symptoms include, but are not limited to:
- Stress associated with fear of friends/family or themselves contracting the virus
- Anxiety associated with uncertainty around the duration of the pandemic, physical distancing measures, and longer-term impact on society.
- Difficulty separating from parents or caregivers
- Somatic symptoms such as aches/pains
- Changes in sleep or appetite
- Older kids could also experience symptoms such as fear, nervousness, hyper-vigilance and irritability
In the academic context, learning can take a toll if children start to display symptoms such as difficulty concentrating, lack of motivation and school refusal. It’s important to note that remote learning is hard. Though e-learning does have its benefits, children generally learn best when actively engaging in their environment where they are able to socially connect. Online schooling requires increased levels of attention and emotional regulation that is very demanding for young children. Our physical safety, as well as our social connections, are being challenged.
If your child is experiencing the effects of the pandemic on their mental health, The Therapy Centre has skilled Psychologists, Social Workers and Psychotherapists who work with children, adolescents, families, individuals and couples. We treat a variety of issues, from everyday challenges to traumatic events with more lasting impact, like the death of a loved one, a life-altering accident, or a serious illness as well as anxiety, depression and other mental health issues.
At The Therapy Centre we are currently offering both in-person and telehealth services, including secure phone sessions and videoconferencing.
Our offices are located at 2525 Old Bronte Road in Oakville and 849 Upper Wentworth Street in Hamilton-just minutes from the QEW and easily accessible from Peel Region, Halton Region, Halton Hills, Stoney Creek and Niagara Region.
Feldscher, K. (2020, September 11). Kids may face mental health issues as school begins amid pandemic. News. https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/news/features/kids-may-face-mental-health-issues-as-school-begins-amid-pandemic/ (opens in a new window)
How the pandemic impacts children’s mental health. (n.d.). Children’s Mental Health Ontario. https://cmho.org/how-the-pandemic-impacts-childens-mental-health/ (opens in a new window)
Li, C., & Lalani, F. (2020, April 29). The COVID-19 pandemic has changed education forever. This is how. World Economic Forum. https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2020/04/coronavirus-education-global-covid19-online-digital-learning/ (opens in a new window)
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