Prior to the move of the national government to order schools to practice home-based learning (HBL), there is a concern amongst schools regarding their students who come from vulnerable and disadvantaged families.
These students won’t be able to keep up with their peers because they do not have access to computers or tablets, as well as a stable Internet connection.
Several efforts were launched left and right to assist these students. Schools started collecting devices to loan out to their students and even allow some students to go to the school to do their studies.
While these students are able to keep up with their peers in the academic aspect, schools started to see that these students are showing signs of anxiety and stress. Their anxiety and stress is caused by the fact most of their parents are not working because they were closed down by the pandemic.
Some students are worried for the safety of their parents who are working in the frontlines such as in hospitals and healthcare facilities.
Schools Stepping Up
To assist these students with their mental health, teachers are now stepping in to serve as counsellors. They would hear out their student’s concerns and try to find ways on how they can help with their needs like food, water, and other concerns like getting funds to obtain a laptop for their home based learning.
Some teachers are reaching out to non-profit and non-government organisations to direct their attention to their students. Experts, in particular, say that schools must go beyond what they can to help these vulnerable families so they can focus their studies wherever they may be.
Parents and students are very thankful for the assistance of their child’s schools in this very stressful time.
In what ways will COVID-19 affect the mental health of children
As parents, we don’t usually look into the impacts of disasters and events to our children. Some children do not display their emotions when these events happen. Others don’t even know how to feel because this is the first time they experienced such an event to happen.
There are many ways for the COVID-19 to affect your children mentally.
Some children may become easily restless because they cannot do the things they usually do. They are only at home and they are not allowed to play outdoors and see their friends. Social withdrawal is also possible because they cannot socialize with others.
Since there is no certainty when the restrictions will be lifted, they will be stressed and irritable the longer they stay indoors.
Stress can also be caused by their current economic situation, especially if their families lost their jobs temporarily because of the pandemic, and their family life. They will also feel depressed because they can’t do anything to help their family, as well as be scared about the future.
How social changes impact our children
As part of the efforts to protect the public from the virus, social distancing is required to prevent droplets containing the virus to be transferred from one person to the other through coughing.
In social distancing, people cannot be near each other by a meter or more. Events are also cancelled and public places like parks and malls are now restricted.
For children, these new social guidelines will affect the way in several ways.
Losing Their Routine
First, children will lose their regular routine, which keeps them busy and gives them a feeling of normalcy. They are restricted in staying at home and playing with the same things everyday.
As a result, they may slowly become bored and restless because of their current situation. You can change that by engaging your child with home based activities like the ones we recommended or reach out to us and let our online tutors challenge your kids’ minds.
Losing Social Interaction
Second, they are unable to be with the people they love such as their grandparents, friends, and schoolmates. They are left to talk to them online, which may be hard to live with if they love being with others.
Accepting this new reality can be hard to grasp, especially if they do not understand why this is going on. So explain in simple terms how this pandemic comes about, the current situation and how we should remain positive during this time. Check out these 10 ways to encourage your kid to stay positive.
Some children may also feel uneasy because their parents are at home and what the media is displaying about the crisis.
Most parents may need to work even at home and have no time to be with them, which may add to the child’s distress regarding the situation. TV reports can also cause them to be scared about the future.
What can parents do to alleviate the mental stress on children?
Fortunately, there are ways for parents to help their children with their mental health during this time.
First is by speaking to your child and asking them what they feel and think.
Some children will need some prodding to know what they are feeling and if you ask them correctly, they will talk to you. Make sure that you do not interrupt them as they talk and answer any questions they may have.
You can also help your children by asking yourself how you feel. Children are very sensitive to what their parents feel and if they see that you are panicking, they will panic too. If you think you can’t handle what you are feeling, seek help immediately.
Second, let them play and stay active. Exercise and play can improve both their physical and mental well-being among the list of activities they can do to increase their immunity as well.
It also helps them to unwind from being stuck at home and get rid of their worries even for a short period of time.
Keep Their Social Lives Intact
Third, you should open all communication channels so your children can still keep their social life intact.
Teach them how to use video calls to talk to their grandparents and their friends. You can even teach them how to write letters, which you can send to their recipients by scanning a picture of their work.
As the pandemic continues to affect the world, its impacts will continue to affect lives in more ways than one. No one is exempted from its impacts regardless of your economic status.
As parents, it is important that we do our best to help our children adapt to the current situation and make them feel that everything is going to be ok.
If you need help, don’t be afraid to reach out to your child’s school. They can definitely help you out if needed because they also have the same goal as you do, to ensure that children are safe during this pandemic and well-taken care of.
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