Although we try to drift away from the wilderness of the pandemic, it still haunts us in mysterious ways. The impact of the COVID19 on mental health is so intense that people are still struggling to get over it. As adults, we talk about stress and anxieties all the time, yet we fail to acknowledge the same level of stress children and adolescents go through.
Ever since the lockdown restrictions came into effect, Parenting has become laborious. Parents working from home have felt even harder to take care of their children. An imbalance in the work-life balance has been stressful. At the same time, Kids from the age of 4 have developed stress, anxiety, and depression during this time. When it is left unnoticed, it may lead to a long term health issue.
Are parents aware of their kid’s mental health issues?
Unlike in adults, it is difficult to identify a kid with depression, stress, or anxiety. Children from the age group of 4-7 and 7-10 show different kinds of symptoms when their mental health is affected.
How to identify children and adolescents with stress and anxiety?
Pediatricians and counselors have suggested a few ways through which parents can easily find their wards suffering from a mental health condition. So, What to look for in children and teenagers?
- Regression: Usually, children in the age group of 4-7 express stress through regression, such as temper tantrums, bed-wetting, separation anxiety, etc.
- Apprehensive: Given the situation, Children aged 7-10 may seem to become fearful of their health or loved ones. They might express it through anger or irritability as they are not fully capable of showing emotions.
- Hard to cope with Academics: Many children would struggle with their school work and online curriculums. It is also a form of expression of a disturbed mind.
- Listlessness: When it comes to teenagers, they might show symptoms such as listlessness and lack of motivation, and isolation because of the impact of social distancing.
The decline in mental health in adolescents may include some behaviors such as stomachaches, headaches, Social withdrawal from family members or peers, self-criticism, and substance use, etc.
How to help your children if they display such symptoms?
- Make a routine: Making your children maintain a healthy habit of consistent sleep, activity, and study patterns can help them to heal. It is imperative during these uncertain times.
- Provide Age-Appropriate Updates: Rumors or misinformation about the pandemic may stir up the worries of children. So, always provide age-appropriate information about the pandemic to them. Teach them the safety measures to keep themselves safe.
- Establish Social Connection: Encourage them to make virtual connections with their friends through video calls. And engage them in outdoor activities while practicing social distancing.
- Physical Activities: Meditation and similar other physical activities can help them relieve stress. Take them on a family bike ride. Utilize online apps such as the Smiling Mind app for meditation and online dance classes on youtube. Also, the Growing Happy Card Deck or YogaKids Toolbox may help children decrease stress hormones.
- Seek Professional Help: If your children seem to suffer from stress or anxiety, and if the suggested methods don’t seem to help, take them to a pediatrician or a psychological counselor. Professionals offering telehealth services can help your children at the convenience of your home to make them feel secure. Reliable health professionals suggested on websites such as RateMDs, ThreeBestRated®, Yelp, etc., are a good choice.