How has COVID-19 affected you?
Updated: Sep 23
COVID-19 has had a huge effect on us all, and we wanted to talk about its impact on our lives, relationships and mental health. Most children have now gone back to school and nursery, whilst many people have made a move to home-schooling, but it may be a while before we are all emotionally ‘back to normal’ despite a return of our routines. If you have found that your relationships with your children are more challenging, you are not alone.
Many people have found their relationships with children have suffered during the pandemic, particularly for those under 5 or those with teens. There are so many reasons for this as stress levels have risen and opportunities to ‘let off steam’ have dropped. When interviewing low-income families, Child Poverty Action Group found that ‘almost half reported physical or mental health problems. For many, this was caused by worries about money, the rising cost of food and utility bills, not being able to buy their children what they needed, and issues with their benefits.’ Social anxiety is up and many people been unable to see extended family, and therefore had less support. Worryingly, those already at a disadvantage have been most negatively impacted.
Lockdown hasn’t all been bad news as some parents have actually found lockdown has benefitted their relationships. However, in a recent Oxford university study, parents of 4 to 10 year olds reported their children seemed more anxious, restless, worried and unhappy, had less concentration and more behavioural difficulties. Some also reported increased physical effects of worry.
We have all experienced huge changes to our lives so this research is unsurprising. UNICEF carried out a huge study on the impact of COVID-19 and found young children were most affected. “Children told us that they’re worried about being isolated from family and friends, and catching and even dying from the virus. Parents told us that they’re confused about how to address their children’s fears, or how to explain extreme containment measures, like social distancing.” They have released a book called ‘My Hero is You’ to help parents to talk to children about questions raised by the pandemic.
Sensory play can really benefit your child, and simple ideas are often the best.
If your child seems restless or agitated try adding a few drops of lavender to dried rice in a large container; sit beside your child running the rice through your hands, making patterns and using scoops, spoons or small containers to pour and fill. Calming activities like this provide a quiet time where children may wish to speak about any anxieties they may have. The activity itself can make them feel less agitated and help build their concentration.
See our website for further support sensory play ideas for you to enjoy with your child.
We would love to know how you have been impacted in your family - what have been the challenges and have you had any positive experiences? What lessons will you be carrying forward from all this?
If you are a parent, and worried about your mental health during the coronavirus outbreak, there is support available:
Support for children and young people:
Links to publications: