This article is going to explore the Corona Virus and Kids. It seems all we hear about on the news or social media platforms lately is the latest information on the Corona Virus(COVID-19).
One day we are told to exercise social distancing then a few days later we are told to go home and stay there except to pick up food or medications.
It is a trying time for all of us but as a grandparent, I want to know how this affects our grand-kids after all they are our future.
How does being distanced from their friends and extended family affect them?
I wonder if this will cause any discrepancies in their development as this crisis continues and we have no idea how long it is necessary to impose these restrictions worldwide.
What is Social Behavior and When Does it Develop?
Social behavior is basically how a person’s feelings, thoughts, and behaviors are influenced by other people. It is crucial to our well-being as humans to create social relationships and learning how to engage in social behavior is a vital part of childhood development.
There are many reasons many children may not develop the social behavior necessary for mental health and development.
Studies have shown that children who experience long term periods of social isolation often tend to:
- achieve lower levels of education
- be part of a lower social class as adults
- and have a higher incidence of mental illness as adults
Learning how to interact with our peers begins at birth.
We start by learning how to interact with our parents and siblings or extended families such as grandparents, aunts, uncles, or cousins.
Often we then learn to interact with other children our age at daycare or pre-school. The friendships developed at pre-school help us develop social and emotional skills, increasing our sense of belonging and lowering stress levels.
Once we begin school that becomes our primary social arena, where we develop friendships and learn how to interact with one another when away from parents.
It is unfortunate that many children with long term illnesses such as cancer can be isolated from school for months or even years and may even result in those children completely losing their social network.
In society today we have allowed our children to get so comfortable with online gaming that they are preferring online games to actually getting together and hanging out as we did as kids. This has had negative repercussions in that these kids actually don’t know how to interact with each other in person.
Now we have massive school closures due to COVID-19 causing more people of all ages to turn to online gaming. What kind of consequences will we all face because of this?
The longer this Global Pandemic takes to get under control the more this will affect not only our children but society as a whole.
In essence the longer we are in isolation the more detrimental this will be to our mental health and that of our children.
An article published by the “Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry” states that “social isolation measured in childhood is associated with:
- an increased risk of depression
- high inflammation levels
- and other markers of cardiovascular disease in adulthood
“Friendships contribute significantly to the development of social skills, such as being sensitive to another’s viewpoints, learning the rules of conversation, and age-appropriate behaviors,” claims Paul Schwartz, a professor of psychology and child behavior expert, in an article he wrote.
He also states people who feel lonely or socially isolated tend to be
- more depressed
- have more health issues
- and may have a shorter lifespan
Developing friendships can help us deal with life’s hardships later in life much more efficiently.
What Are the Effects of Social Isolation?
Social isolation in childhood can lead to the very same detrimental effects as adults.
Being isolated from family and friends as well as having their regular daily schedule suddenly altered can be extremely difficult for children to cope with.
Without a doubt, this can negatively affect children’s health and behavior.
Studies have shown the effects of social isolation can include:
- acting out or misbehaving
- poor sleep quality
- cognitive decline
- Alzheimer’s disease
- hallucinations and delusions
- high blood pressure
- heart disease
- a weakened immune system
- death (or suicide)
It is critical in these days of forced social isolation to find creative ways to minimize the risk of these negative effects for our children.
How Can We Help Our Children Through These Difficult Times?
In the stressful days and weeks ahead as we all face social isolation and interrupted schedules it is important to remember our children are watching us for guidance on how to cope.
As parents and grand-parents there are several things we can do:
- First of all, it is important to let our children know we love them and that we understand they miss their friends, teachers, and normal routine.
- Let them know we miss the old normal too, this shows them they are not alone and validates their feelings.
- We can spend time playing board games, building with Lego, reading together, or baking together.
- We can enlist our children’s help with daily chores such as cooking and cleaning.
- Get outside and play out in the yard, tossing around a softball or football can help ease the boredom in a fun way.
Children and adults require exercise to maintain optimal health, find creative ways to exercise at home.
Get outside for walks when you can, the fresh air will do you good.
Teach your kids the importance of maintaining safe social distance when you come across others.
Life After COVID-19
None of us know how long it will be until this virus threat is over.
We don’t know if life will resume as before or if there will some lasting changes or restrictions.
Some of you have been asked to work from home and perhaps you have discovered you now prefer that and no longer wish to head into that job.
If you prefer to work at home then why not work for yourself?
Working at home for your self has some of the following benefits:
- get paid for what you’re worth
- unlimited income potential
- you continue to get paid in times like these
- no traveling to work
- self-esteem is higher making you healthier
- live and work where ever you want
- unlimited travel
If so, check out this article on How to Make Extra Money From Home.
You might find some great information on how you can continue working from home after the virus.
Whatever happens, our children will look to us for guidance.
Continue to spend time with our children helping them adjust back to regular life.
Older kids will be anxious to spend time with their friends and resume regular activities while younger kids may need some help or reassurance to adjust to their previous schedule again.
Have patience and help each other adjust back to normal whatever that might be afterward.
With everyone’s daily lives completely altered for the unforeseeable future, our children and grandchildren need our support and guidance to deal with these changes.
Kids thrive on a schedule and when that schedule is literally turned upside-down seemingly overnight it can be a scary and confusing time for them.
Naturally, they are looking to the adults in their life for guidance and stability.
Parents can reassure their kids by playing with them, reading with them, and having genuine conversations about world events.
Explain that none of us knows when this will be over and we don’t know how this will alter our lives afterward. Reassure them that as a family you will all get through this together and create a new normal.
As grandparents, we can Facetime or Skype with our grand-kids to help reassure them that we love them and miss them as well.
Encourage them to use social media to keep in touch with friends. Knowing that their friends are safe can help ease their fears.
Go ahead and have fun planning some fun activities once the restrictions are lifted.
Work together as a family and you will all come through this stronger and better than before.
Please share your experience by leaving a comment below.
Be safe my friends.