As we have experienced the emotional impact of COVID-19 this past year parents and caregivers are very concerned about some of the emotional changes, like anxiety or depression, in their children. With all that has been going on it is difficult to assess what may be causing these emotions and then what to do about it.
Child Mind Institute just published an article by Caroline Miller who very succinctly identifies some of the symptoms to look for and some ideas as to what to do about it. Here are some excerpts from the article.
As the pandemic continues to limit our lives, one thing we need to be alert for is depression, in our children as well as ourselves.
Feeling down in this time of cancelled activities and social distancing is unavoidable, and most of us are struggling to stay positive. But depression is more than just feeling sad or having bad days. A child who seems to be stuck in a negative mood — feeling hopeless and not able to enjoy anything — may have depression and may need help to bounce back.
Depression is a disorder that most often begins in adolescence, but it can occur in children as young as preschool age. Kids who have a history of depression are particularly at risk during this stressful time, but upsetting events like the pandemic can also trigger depression in children who haven’t shown any signs of it previously.
The rest of the article identifies some of the symptoms of depression and some steps a parent can take to help their child process their feelings and thoughts about what has been going on for them. This has been a very long period of time where kids have been out of their routine and may be having struggles to continue their school work and friendships.
As we near the end of this school year and work through all the impact of COVID-19, it may be a good idea to do a check-in with your kids and see how they are doing. Even if they are doing OK, it will be affirming to find that out. If they do need help, it will be important to give them the ability to process through all that they have experienced in this past year.