How has the pandemic affected your child’s social development?

The very nature of the Covid-19 pandemic has forced people to stay indoors and limit their social interactions. While it impacted people of all age groups, for children it was more difficult. They had to switch to online classes as opposed to actual physical classes at school, stay away from friends and family, etc.

These things may have naturally had an impact on their behavioral and social development skills. According to Dr Gurudutt Bhat, pediatric consultant, Fortis Hospital, Kalyan, for children brief interruptions in education can have a detrimental and lasting effect. Many will have forgotten what they initially learned in school.

“Although online education has gained the upper hand, we must not forget that it is still not a viable option for many people living in remote or financially disadvantaged areas. Not all children have the privilege of a suitable environment for continuing their education at home. These children were the most affected, thus affecting their intellectual development, ”he says.

The doctor explains that several reports have highlighted the most common psychosocial and behavioral problems in children and adolescents during the pandemic:

* Inattention
* Hang on
* Distraction
* Fear of asking questions about the pandemic

“The change was greatest for people with pre-existing mental health issues. “

“There was definitely a lack of play time with their peers, of interaction in the classroom, which affected the children’s social skills. Pediatricians have found an increased prevalence of speech and language delay in children. Traumatic or unnatural childhood experiences have been shown to have a negative impact on an individual’s development.

“Many children do not have a healthy atmosphere at home due to parental anxiety, arguments, etc. It is also noted that the pressure of work and family has prevented parents from spending so much time with their children. From there some develop feelings of loneliness, and the pandemic has fueled the same, ”he says.

Not only that, but many schools have also overloaded students with excess homework, and sitting for long hours in front of a screen has taken its toll, with Zoom fatigue setting in.

So how can we help children and what should parents know?

“Talk to your children and try to understand them. Spend as much time as possible with them, educate yourself on their concerns, ”advises Dr. Bhat.

– Be there for them as a parent and confidant.
– Give them their space when needed, especially for teenagers.
– Help them stay in shape with proper nutrition.
– Make them exercise. Do low to moderate intensity workouts together.
– Teach them the Covid hygiene protocols, which are more important than ever, with the gradual reopening of schools.
– Show them how to wear a mask and get a comfortable fit for them.

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Joel C. Hicks