How has the lockdown due to COVID-19 affected children?

Lockdown all across the world has caused a huge strain on people physically and mentally. As much necessary is the measure for safety and precaution against the virus, the resultant side effects are as real and daunting. As grownups, we often tend to have several ways to mitigate our boredom or keep mental health issues at bay with therapeutic activities. But for children, this new way of life is not only a challenge but also a hindrance to normal healthy mind and body.

As we are gradually heading towards the tenth month of the year 2020, we know the effects of the disease are much more than what had initially anticipated. Children luckily, according to reports are not as susceptible to the virus as adults. Only 2% of the total affected people in India are children. It is a celebratory factor for parents who are in fear of their children getting infected. Despite these factors in favour of children, they have been subjected to several negative factors during this lockdown.

Physical effects- In children, most skills are not yet formed. Mental abilities, cognition and other higher activities in children are mostly under development which makes it very sensitive and important to ensure a healthy environment for the children. Due to the lockdown, the most common activity that has come to an end is outdoor playtime. Hours of playing in the sand, for example, increases immunity and endurance in small children and toddlers. Cricket, hide and seek develops cognitive skills too. The biggest drawback to the playgrounds being locked up is the stark rise in obesity and inactivity among children. Due to the attachment of children to phones and laptops, health issues were already on the rise among the young. The lockdown has alleviated the issue further. Screen time among children has seen a considerable rise in hours in the past few months owing to the long period of no school, no outdoors playtime. Online classes have resumed in most schools due to compulsion of the situation. While it is indeed an important step for the education sector, it too inadvertently contributes to an increase in screen time. Increase in screen time affects vision, can cause headache and irritation and can limit the use of brain and mind for children.

Mental effects- Children are very susceptible to any environment. Due to lockdown, often couples engage in a negative clash that not only disrupts the environment of the household but adversely affects the mental health of the children in the family. Children pick up on the negative emotions, anger, sadness or irritation. They tend to feel depressed and lonely due to the negativity in the family. Due to closed doors, the emotions fail to dissipate and can affect everyone in the family for a longer period.

Possible solutions to ensure better lifestyle of children during lockdown.

  • Unhesitantly, families must engage in counselling or therapy.
  • Family activities like looking, board games, photography, music or dance sessions can keep away depression, anger and negative emotions.
  • A perfect way to maintain mental and physical health is engagement in skipping, yoga, exercise, running jogging or meditating. Involving the whole family ensures a fitter body and manifests a sense of togetherness in children.
  • Keeping away negativity. Especially now, with pandemic raging, news channels and internet carry a lot much news that can cause negativity. And children, who are now equipped with internet and gadgets can access that news anytime they want. One good way to kill such negativity is to keep children away from news sources.

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