Impact of pandemic on children

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The pandemic has claimed millions of lives world over and destroyed the economy of individuals as well as States. It has changed the entire life pattern and forced people to accept a new way of living, a way that is not much comforting or likeable. Humans are known as social animals but the spread of Covid-19 has, in a way, snatched this title as they are now forced to live in isolation maintaining social distances. Age of handshakes, kisses and hugs is gone. Gone are the days when one would say “God bless’ when someone would sneeze. Now a sneezing person is looked at as a suicide bomber. Face masks, social distancing, avoiding outings and parties, avoiding mingling with friends and families have become the new norm. It has impacted every soul on the earth with no exception. Educational sector has got derailed, economies are nose-diving, social structures are tumbling down and the humans are watching all this helplessly. However, the vaccines have come as some ray of hope at the end of a dark tunnel and hopefully once the populations get fully vaccinated, the deadly virus may lose some of its sting.

Besides other sections of the society the pandemic has impacted the children the most. Experts say that maintaining physical distancing, remaining holed up in their homes, wearing facemask and taking other such precautionary measures have had affected the children badly as they find these protocols stressful and intolerable and these scare them.  Missing their academic, creative, and fun activities and not being able to see their school friends and enjoy outings has impacted their sense of calm. Worst hit are the children whose parents are getting infected. They are asked not to go near them. Much younger children, who don’t understand what the world is going through, fail to reconcile with the fact of not being allowed to see their parents and thus get impacted psychologically. This impacts their day-to-day behavior. They react strangely. They get angry all the time or they simply shift to the gadgets.

Since parents themselves are facing various kinds of challenges due to the situations caused by the pandemic, they too react improperly to the changing behaviour of their children. Their parenting has changed. Children too observe this change and it again impacts them psychologically. Children start losing their self-confidence. They fall prey to stress, anxiety, and tension. Parents need to understand the mental state of their children particularly the adolescent ones. The adolescent children are passing through a critical stage of their lives, they want to fly like free-spirited birds but the pandemic has caged them. Undoubtedly they are undergoing too much mental stress and may behave strangely. It is responsibility of the parents to understand the trauma of such children and instead of brow-beating them and giving them sermons should appreciate their frustrations, spend quality time with them, engage them in discussions, telling them stories and listening to their stories and thus conveying to them that they are needed. These children need to be heard and their feelings need to be understood and appreciated.

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