5 Changes We Might See in Children After COVID
As parents, we know that our children are resilient... We expect them to bounce back after a hard day at school or an argument with friends but what if the child has been through something much more traumatic?
In the last almost two years, we have seen some major changes in the way our children act, react and interact.
It may not be immediately apparent but our children have been fundamentally changed and so it is important for parents to be aware of these changes in order to be able to help children process what is going on around them.
1. They will be more mature
While this may initially seem like a positive change, it's important to keep in mind that they are being forced into the role of an adult before they have even had time to grow up themselves.
They may have ended up taking on adult responsibilities and attempted to put their own feelings aside in favour of those around them.
While it is important for children to learn how to be empathetic, they should always have the space and time needed to develop this aspect of themselves.
This can lead to emotional issues as they grow up and attempt to rebel for being expected to act and being treated as adults long before they were ready for such responsibility.
2. They might not want to play with toys or have fun anymore
When children are having fun and playing with their toys, it can be hard for them to process difficult thoughts or emotions - it's why we encourage our children to play games like: "Imagine you're on a beach" or other such activities that allow the child to build coping skills as they play.
However, when trauma strikes, even this simple activity may become lost in the aftermath of the incident.
This means that parents need to take extra care not only to ensure that their children have spaces where they can simply relax and let go but also teach them how important these times are.
Parents will also need to take care not only with their own children but also the other children around them as well as they may try and imitate what's happened before in an attempt to play out a traumatic event. (Therein lies serious potential for issues later on if these memories are repressed or otherwise mishandled by those who experience them, so it's important for parents to instill positive coping mechanisms early on).
If your child simply stops wanting fun, don't force them into playing games etc., instead find something else to do like going outside or reading stories together which can serve as a way of making sure you spend time together without causing too much stress for either side.
3. They may stop being interested in things they used to enjoy
Children are often enthralled by things that adults consider boring or pointless.
This is why it's important to allow children the freedom they need to explore, discover and learn for themselves what interests them most.
However, if something terrible happens which causes our emotions to become heightened then these same activities may be lost on us as we try not to think about what has happened at all costs for fear of feeling pain again.
Instead of forcing your child into doing something they clearly don't want to do, try and find something else that might interest them or even be a way of introducing their old hobby back into the mix in small doses.
If you have any concerns about how your child is changing, talk to a professional who can help guide you through this difficult time while keeping both yourself and your child safe from harm.
4. This "lost" time will have a huge effect on their education
As a society, we place such importance on getting a good education to be able to support ourselves throughout our lives. However, for all school-age kids, the last 18 months have, more or less, been ripped out of the calendar as far as their education has been concerned.
Something awful happened and it has farther-reaching consequences for our kids that they will be dealing with for years to come.
Not only have they lost valuable learning-time but they have also lost bonding time with their friends (and the social lessons that only that bonding time provides).
If your child stops wanting to play because they thinks it is childish after what has happened, gently remind them of how much everyone needs time out from the world and that this is nothing to be ashamed of.
5. There is a possibility they'll develop mental health problems due to the trauma of the incident
When something terrible happens it can lead to long-term anxiety, depression and even physical health problems if they're not able to move on.
In the long-term, we have very little idea how our children will be affected and that's not just those who lost people close to them during COVID-19 but also those who were directly involved in the incident.
If your child starts to become withdrawn or has trouble sleeping, it's important not only to take them to a professional but also remind yourself that they are going through something you don't understand and may never be able to fully comprehend.
However, these children need our love now more than ever and we must be there for them to help get through this difficult time.
The effects of COVID are still being and will continue to be studied, but it's important to be aware of the potential implications for our children's future.
If you have any concerns about how your child is coping, talk to a professional who can help guide you through this difficult time while keeping both yourself and your child safe from harm.
We hope that this article has helped you understand what is happening with children across the globe and how it could affect your child or grandchild.