All of us have been affected by COVID-19 in one way or another.
Maybe your company has gone remote and you’ve had to adjust your schedule now that you’re working from home, or perhaps you’re one of the millions of people whose financial stability has been severely affected by pay cuts, furloughs, or layoffs.
No matter what your situation is, it’s important to keep in mind that everyone — children included — is experiencing some level of anxiety and uncertainty about the future. In fact, recent studies have found higher incidences of negative mental health effects in children as a result of the pandemic. In today’s post, we’re going to discuss a few of the ways in which the pandemic is affecting children and how you can provide stability, support, and optimism in the midst of so much hardship.
Now more than ever, children in Pennsylvania need foster families that provide them with a healthy, nurturing, and supportive environment. Get in touch with one of the Family Care for Children & Youth offices if you’re interested in learning more about how you can partner with our Pennsylvania foster care agency to make a difference in a child’s life.
How the Effects of COVID-19 Impact Children
All of us have experienced some sort of disruption to our daily lives and our normal schedules. Your child has probably gone from seeing their friends at school and on the weekends to staying home more often than not.
Adults are well-equipped to handle changes like this and are typically more resilient in the face of change — children have a more difficult time coping. You child might feel like their days now have no structure, especially if they’re getting more screen time than normal or are going to bed at different times throughout the week.
If you notice that your child is having a difficult time adjusting to life at home, try implementing a more rigid schedule into your household. Cut down on screen time, make time for family dinners, and prioritize exercise of some kind, being sure to maintain your distance from other people if you choose to go outdoors.
It’s safe to assume that all of us are feeling lonely in one way or another. Many of us haven’t seen our friends and coworkers in person for months, and this kind of isolation can take a toll on anyone’s mental health.
Take a moment to think about how your child’s social life has changed due to COVID-19. They’re no longer seeing their friends each day, they aren’t participating in after-school sports and activities, and the weekends are no longer filled with playdates, birthday parties, and other social events that would normally be sources of happiness and connection.
The best way to find out if your child is feeling lonely is to ask in a gentle, understanding way. Ask them if they miss spending time with their friends, or how they feel about the situation in general. If they do feel lonely or isolated, see if they can arrange video calls with their friends or suggest starting a penpal circle that involves their whole friend group.
Anxiety is a reaction to situations we perceive as threatening, and there’s no shortage of threatening news to go around these days. Even if you’re careful about what your child hears on television, it’s nearly impossible to block out every mention of what’s currently happening around the world. This is naturally anxiety-provoking for both children and adults but, as discussed in previous sections, children are less equipped to process and handle the information in a healthy manner.
If you notice that your child is exhibiting anxious behaviors such as irritability, nervousness, negativity, and difficulty concentrating, you may want to contact a mental health professional sooner rather than later. Many psychologists and psychiatrists are now providing virtual services, making it easy and less stressful to reach out for help.
Contact Our Pennsylvania Foster Care Agency
We hope that today’s post will help you understand what your child may have experienced in the last few months, and may still be experiencing today. In our next post, we’ll discuss mental health warning signs that you should be looking for, as well as what you can do as a parent to better support yourself and your family as we make our way through this crisis together. Bookmark our blog page and check back next week. You can also follow us on Facebook to keep up with even more news.
As we mentioned at the beginning of this post, many children in Pennsylvania need loving, caring homes now more than ever. If you’ve considered opening your heart and your home to a child in need, reach out to one of our offices to learn more about foster care in Pennsylvania.
We look forward to speaking with you.