With the ongoing disruption to the lives of practically everyone in the world and forced isolation as a normal part of everyday life because of the pandemic, children’s perceptions of a normal life have changed.
COVID-19 first emerged as a worldwide health threat in early 2019. Infants that were born in 2018 are now nearing the age of three. These kids have spent their entire lives living in a world of continuous hand-washing and mask-wearing. They have been taught that one mustn’t get too close to people for fear of getting sick. They may have never experienced a birthday party or a large gathering of people. Many of them have only experienced school by video conferencing.
Effects of Social Isolation on Children
As the past two years have been ‘normal,’ as far as your child under three years of age is concerned, they probably are perfectly happy and content. As parents, you shouldn’t worry too much about your younger family members. It’s the older children who knew what life was like before the pandemic who may need some special attention.
In June of 2020, researchers in the UK looked at children and social isolation in the context of the pandemic as social isolation can cause depression and anxiety in children. What they found can help children cope with the isolation is to play and interact with them. If they have siblings, encourage them to play with each other or form playgroups with close neighbors. If you have an only child, put aside quality time to play with them at whatever game they come up with.
The children that are most at risk of being affected by social isolation are those that were accustomed to life before the pandemic. They may feel a sense of loss of freedom and a sense of restriction because of the isolation. Keeping their bodies and minds engaged and busy is the best way for them to cope with ongoing social isolation.