The Potential Effects of COVID-19 Quarantine on a Child’s Social and Emotional Development

The last year and a half has been difficult for everyone. In particular, it’s been tough for young children. The littlest ones may not even remember what the world was like before the pandemic hit. Social isolation is the norm for them, with many children only recently returning to school or other “normal” social interactions.

With all that in mind, many parents are concerned about COVID-19’s effects on social and emotional development. Read on to find out about how you can help your child adapt and avoid some of the issues associated with quarantine.

Allow your child to talk about their feelings

Children are anxious as a result of the pandemic. After all, they may not fully understand why they can’t see their friends or their grandparents. One study of children in Spain found that during lockdown, children felt “scared, nervous, lonely, sad, bored and angry.” Children—along with everyone else in the country—had strict limitations on where they were allowed to go, and the virus was thought of as an enemy that needed to be defeated.

That said, the same study found that children felt safe, calm and happy with their families. When your child wants to talk to you about his scary new world we’re living in, it’s important to listen to what they’re saying. While it may feel natural to say, “It’s going to be okay,” you want to avoid minimizing your child’s feelings. You can actively support their feelings by saying things like, “I know you’re scared. I’m scared too.”

Look for the signs

You can also look for signs of mental distress that might not always be obvious. For preschoolers, these signs include bed wetting, thumb sucking, clinging to parents, sleeping issues, loss of appetite, fear of the dark and behavioral regression. If you believe your child is struggling, you may want to talk with your pediatrician.

Focus on the positive

It’s not always easy staying positive during these tough times, but doing so will put you and your child in a better frame of mind. From finding face masks with their favorite cartoon character to simply spending more time together as a family, you can find silver linings. Many children are painting rocks and leaving them at playgrounds for others to find—a fun-but-no-contact way to interact with other children.

Stay involved with school

Whether you’re opting for virtual or in-person options, this is an important time to be involved with your child’s school. Check in with their teachers to make sure their learning is on track. Monitor the school’s health and safety procedures to ensure your child stays safe. If your child is experiencing any symptoms associated with COVID-19 or has exposure to the virus, keep them at home until they can safely return to the classroom.

While there will be COVID-19 effects on children’s social and emotional development, fortunately many children are returning to school safely. Assumption Academy has been serving the needs of preschoolers and kindergartners for nearly four decades. Our primary goal is to offer a warm and supportive environment for children to learn about the world around them. Find out more about our programs by contacting us today.