Children’s mental health took a negative turn in 2020. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago conducted a national parent survey and 71% of the participants reported the pandemic had taken a toll on their child’s mental health. This sentiment mirrors the increase in mental health-related emergency department visits. According to the CDC’s data, during 2020 these visits increased by 24% for children ages 5 to 11 and 31% for those ages 12 to 17 compared with the 2019 emergency department visits (Abramson, 2022).
In addition to the usual challenges of growing up, many families are still struggling with losing loved ones and the academic and social-emotional consequences of school closures, Covid lockdowns, and other pandemic stressors.
Mental health is an essential part of your child’s overall well-being that’s just as important as their physical condition. Their early development creates the foundation for later success.
As a parent, there are many steps you can take to help protect your child’s mental health. Try these suggestions to support your child through difficult times and reduce their risk for anxiety and depression.
Even small children can be overwhelmed by stress. The signs may include mood swings, trouble at school or daycare, or physical symptoms like upset stomachs and headaches.
Many parents and experts are concerned about the long-term effects of social isolation, remote learning, too much screen time (luriechildrens.org, 2021). Children need major help with socializing at all levels.
REMEMBER: The pandemic has been a slice of your life, but it’s the only experience small children have known, and it has been a concentrated life experience for bigger kids, tweens, and teens. Prepare your children (of any age) for social situations. Start small and respect their comfort levels. Create social stories to offer predictability.
If you have concerns about your child’s mental health, you can find resources, including therapists and coaches. Early intervention can enable your child to get the help they need.
LAST BUT NOT LEAST: It is important to have your own support when parenting and creating an environment that encourages positive mental health. That is one of the reasons I created Mindful-Ish™ Parenting Monthly. You can learn more and join me there by clicking here. I hope to see you inside!
Abramson, A. (2022, January 1). Children’s mental health is in crisis. Monitor on Psychology. Retrieved March 28, 2022, from https://www.apa.org/monitor/2022/01/special-childrens-mental-health luriechildrens.org. (2021, May 27). Children’s mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic. Lurie Children’s Bog. Retrieved March 28, 2022, from https://www.luriechildrens.org/en/blog/childrens-mental-health-pandemic-statistics/
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