After almost two years of living in a pandemic, research is showing record high levels of stress and anxiety in nearly all populations, including school-aged children. With another delayed return to school amid ongoing COVID-19 concerns, parents and caregivers are being encouraged to help children deal with ongoing pandemic-related stress and anxiety that could be impacting their mental health.
Last year, research by the BC Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) showed that attending classes remotely had a significant impact on students including interrupted learning, increased stress, increased loneliness, decreased connection, and mental and emotional health. Further studies have shown that nearly 70% of children and youth aged 2-18 have experienced depression, anxiety, irritability, a lower attention span, or obsessions and compulsions.
For many children, immersing themselves in the school environment not only provides an important educational element, it also offers vital social interactions among fellow students and friends, a daily routine by which many school-aged children thrive, and access to extracurricular activities. It can also provide access to learning aids and mental health resources that a child wouldn’t otherwise have. On the flip side, returning to the classroom can be just as stressful and anxiety-inducing for students due to fear of the unknown or contracting COVID-19 .
How to help children cope
Whatever the reason your child may be dealing with feelings of stress, anxiety, or uncertainty, here are a few tips parents and caregivers can use to help children cop
Above everything else, it’s important to remind ourselves and our children that the steps we are taking today to protect ourselves and our loved ones aren’t permanent. Working our way through the pandemic is a marathon, not a sprint, but the day will come when we will be on the other side of the pandemic and living with Covid in the same way we live with the flu today.