How has the Pandemic Impacted Children?

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, everyone’s lives were upended in some way. Many people were unemployed or furloughed, while some people started working from home. People dealt with fear and uncertainty about their futures and put lots of big life plans on hold, like weddings.

But adults weren’t the only ones who had to deal with major changes due to the pandemic. Children also had to adjust to new circumstances, like attending school online, going for long stretches of time without seeing their friends, and having activities outside of their homes canceled. Here’s how the pandemic impacted children over the past few years.

Difficulty Forming Relationships

For kids, school is often the center of their social lives. During the pandemic, children had to log in for remote classes rather than attend school in person. While this was a preventative measure to slow the spread of the virus, there’s no doubt that this was a difficult adjustment for students. Lots of kids lost touch with their friends during this time, and they lost other outlets for socializing as well, like extracurricular activities, team sports, church, summer camps, and more.

Academic Struggles

Going to school remotely also made it harder for many kids to keep up with their assignments. Children could be easily distracted while logged in to online classes. Some found it harder to grasp concepts when they couldn’t work through assignments in person. Furthermore, since so many parents had their own routines disrupted, it was tough for them to assist their kids with homework and assignments. Some children didn’t have adults home with them during the day, as their parents worked outside of the home and couldn’t take time off, so they didn’t have someone supervising them and ensuring they attended classes.

Excessive Screen Time

Because of the pandemic, almost all social gatherings and events were shut down for long periods of time. Since kids had so few options for activities, they often turned to screens for entertainment. Children and adults alike spent lots of time using technology during the pandemic, sometimes out of necessity and sometimes as a way to stay entertained while spending weeks indoors. Kids often spent long hours tuned into streaming services, using tablets, or scrolling on smartphones. Older kids turned to social media to pass the time.

Mental Health Concerns

All of these developments contributed to a rise in mental health issues among children. It’s easy to assume that only adults and teenagers suffer from conditions like depression, anxiety, or post-traumatic stress disorder. During the pandemic, children who were old enough to understand the headlines experienced anxiety over the future. Kids whose parents worked in healthcare or other occupations that would put them at risk of catching COVID-19 may have worried for their family’s safety. Lots of children also lost loved ones, which left them grieving while feeling isolated from the wider world.

Trouble Developing Resilience

For some children, it may have felt like life was on pause during the pandemic. They couldn’t spend time with their friends, they didn’t have much to look forward to, and they didn’t put as much effort into school. Life became monotonous, and each day presented nothing new. Over time, they lost their problem-solving skills. For some kids, developing resilience during the pandemic was a challenge. Feeling like nothing would ever get better could turn into a temptation to give up on overcoming problems and challenges.

Are you concerned about your child’s mental health in the wake of the pandemic? Working with a therapist can help. Reach out to us to discuss your options for scheduling your first session for parenting therapy.