Saying that the coronavirus pandemic has impacted our lives is an understatement. It has varying yet lasting effects on each of us mentally, socially, emotionally, physically, and even financially. It has affected our jobs, our health, and our routines. And unfortunately, it has affected our family and our kids as well.
Since we’re coping with all these changes, we are bound to lose sight of some things — and this is understandable, of course. We’re in a crisis and for some of us, it’s all we can do to not fall apart. However, as parents, we also have to be conscious of how our current situation is affecting our kids. Them being “too young to understand” is not a guarantee that they’ll come out of this crisis unscathed. Sometimes, they are more at risk because they cannot fully comprehend the situation and yet they are also impacted.
Some obvious signs of mental health issues in kids include signs of aggression, such as outbursts of anger or even hostility, yelling, or throwing. But there are other, easy-to-miss and dismiss signs too. Here are a few things that we should watch out for in our kids:
If your child is having a hard time concentrating
Lack of concentration in kids could be a red flag that he’s having trouble coping. And while kids do tend to have a short attention span, some things you need to watch out for is when they struggle with tasks or activities that they have no problems with before the quarantine. The same goes if they are unable to listen or carry out instructions.
If you observe this in your child, you can help him by asking him to express his emotions and try to ask him questions that can help him open up about what’s bothering him. You can even use age-appropriate activities such as arts and crafts, game night, or storytelling sessions to help him express himself.
If your child is exhibiting behaviors or patterns that are out of the ordinary for him
One of the things parents should watch out for in their child during these times is any sign of “extraordinary” behavior or pattern. It can be subtle behavior changes, such as being quieter or withdrawn than usual or even being more defiant or irritable than before.
If your child is “regressing” to earlier behaviors
Experts say that stress can cause kids to regress — or simply put, return to their previous behaviors. An example of this is if your child starts to wet the bed once again even if he’s already fully potty trained. Aside from potty training regression, parents should also watch out for sleep regression, food intake regression, and other behavioral tantrums.
If your child is having sleeping problems
Insomnia, even difficulty in falling asleep and staying asleep are all red flags for kids and teens. Missing quality sleep for one night might not be cause for concern, but not getting enough sleep for how many nights in a row can be a cause for concern.
If your child is bored more than before
It can be quite common for us to hear our kids complain that they’re bored. And while it is ok for them to be bored once in a while, we also have to be wary if they do complain of boredom more now compared to before. An increase in boredom can be a sign of depression, so it’s also good to take note of it.
If your child is eating too much or too little
A marked difference in eating patterns in kids could mean underlying issues as well. So parents should watch out if their kids are eating too much or too little compared to pre-quarantine times.
If your child is exhibiting anti-social behavior
Anti-social behavior in kids could mean avoiding interactions with their friends or even not coming out of their room. Being distracted or argumentative can also be signs of this.
Maintaining social interaction these days can be challenging, but we can also encourage our kids to engage with others by scheduling video calls with other family members, friends, and even classmates.
We might have our hands full these days, but it’s also best to stay on top of our child’s well-being even if he is at home. Stay safe and sane, mamas.