Over the last year, the ramifications of lockdown on adult’s mental health have been discussed frequently.
Various news sources regularly publish statistics that determine the impact lockdown has had on adults, yet children’s mental health often goes overlooked.
If you have noticed changes in your child’s behaviour, and believe that they are struggling to cope with the ramifications of lockdown, we have provided our guidance surrounding how to maintain our children’s mental health during lockdown below.
Lockdown and The Impact Of Mental Health On Children
In the last year, children’s lives have been turned upside down. No longer are they able to go to school, see their friends or enjoy their usual hobbies.
Instead, they now face the new reality of home-schooling and isolation from others. Although older children, such as teenagers, can comprehend why lockdown is necessary, younger children are often left somewhat confused about why they must remain at home.
Considering the drastic changes that they have had to endure, it comes as no surprise that mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, eating disorders and chronic stress have impaired many children. In the last year alone, it was estimated that one in six children between the ages of 5 and 16 experienced a mental health disorder.
Signs and Symptoms Associated with Poor Mental Health in Children
Before determining how to maintain our children’s mental health during lockdown, it is essential to consider the signs and symptoms that are often associated with poor mental health in children. In doing so, it may be somewhat easier to determine how best to support a child during lockdown.
Although the signs and symptoms observed will likely differ, some of the most common signs to look out for include;
- Drastic changes in behaviour
- Increased mood swings
- Constantly feeling sad
- Increased confusion
- Insomnia and restlessness
- Heightened levels of anxiety
- Reduced energy
- Eating more or less than they usually would
- Isolation from others
- Spending an increased amount of time on their own
- Panic attacks
While the above signs and symptoms can be linked to various other causes, they will often arise when a child struggles with anxiety, depression, ADHD or an eating disorder.
If you have noticed any of the above signs and symptoms in your child, seeking professional support and guidance is highly recommended.
Children’s Mental Health During Lockdown
Although our day to day lives have become somewhat restricted during lockdown, there are still various ways that you help maintain your children’s mental health.
If you have searched for answers regarding how to maintain children’s mental health during lockdown, we have provided many things that you could try below.
1. Implement A Daily Routine
As lockdown has disrupted many elements of our typical daily life, implementing a daily routine will offer your child a sense of normality as they navigate lockdown, home learning and being away from their friends.
While it is somewhat easy to let your child wake up later in the morning, eat at different times and have more screen time, instigating regular routines that they would typically follow will enhance and maintain their mental health during lockdown.
When considering what to incorporate into your child’s daily routine, we would recommend the following;
- Waking up at the same time during the week
- Having breakfast at the same time during the week
- Getting ready for home schooling as they usually would if they were attending school as normal
- Having lunch at the time they usually would at school
- Finishing school at the regular time
- Screen time
- Having dinner at a consistent time with family
- Spending time with the family
- Going to bed at the same time every day during the week
2. Encourage Your Child To Talk About How They Feel
While children can often be reluctant to talk about how they feel, encouraging your child to talk about how they feel, and any worries they have will enable you to maintain your child’s mental health during lockdown.
As your child discusses how they feel and any thoughts that are on their mind, you will be able to provide them with the reassurance they may need and help them navigate their feelings.
3. Encourage Your Child To Participate In A Form Of Exercise
Lockdown has been somewhat tricky for children and adults alike as it has restricted the amount of physical activity we can participate in.
Regardless of whether your child would usually participate in a form of exercise, encouraging them to do so during lockdown will help maintain their mental health.
Although you may not realise it, simply going for a short walk can reduce the risk of mental health disorders by 20%.
4. Encourage Your Child To Take Up A New Hobby
In both children and adults, mental health disorders often arise when thoughts, feelings, worries and fears take over our minds. Considering this, in order to maintain our children’s mental health during lockdown, taking up a new hobby may be beneficial.
Whether it is baking, cooking, drawing or painting, participating in a new hobby with your children will distract them from any pessimistic feelings they may experience.
Joining your child in a new hobby will also help to strengthen your bond and build trust, which will, in turn, reassure them that they are not alone and they can confide in you.
While we would encourage you to implement the above, if your child is struggling with a mental health disorder, you should secure professional help. Sadly, when mental health disorders are left untreated in childhood, they are often experienced well into adulthood.
Contact Us For Additional Support and Guidance
If you have attempted to help your child maintain their mental health, but find yourself at a loss, we are here to provide you with support and guidance.
Should you wish to take advantage of our support, please do not hesitate to contact us today.
-  it was estimated that one in six children between the ages of 5 and 16 experienced a mental health disorder. - https://digital.nhs.uk/news-and-events/latest-news/survey-conducted-in-july-2020-shows-one-in-six-children-having-a-probable-mental-disorder
-  20% - https://www.therapyforyou.co.uk/post/exercise-and-mental-health#:~:text=There%20is%20a%2020%25%2D,exercise%20(The%20Lancet%20Psychiatry%20Journal)