New Delhi: As the cases of coronavirus are on the rise again, the impact on the mental health of people especially kids is worrisome. It is noteworthy that children are witnessing alienation, parental job losses, deaths of family members, educational disruptions, domestic violence, excessive digital exposure, and warped human interactions due to the pandemic and lockdowns. Several experts are pointed out that this crisis might have a long-term impact on the lives of children.

Dr. Puja Kapoor, Pediatric neurologist  & Co-Founder of Continua Kids told The Sunday Guardian: “Due to confinement in their home and lack of social interaction with peers, children are becoming more irritable and showing anger issues. As they are unable to express their feelings, the frequency of temper tantrums has increased. Lack of channelization of energy children has become more demanding from parents, making them more vulnerable to parents’ wrath, who themselves are under extensive work pressure. They are getting bored, staying in a locked home, in a monotonous environment, nothing new or exciting happening, making them more and more frustrated with the situation. Children of 2 to 4 years of age, who are ready to explore the world through a school social environment, are becoming socially inept due to lack of exposure to the social world. There are chances of having deficits in their social and communication and language milestones.”

Consequently, the behavioral changes shown by the children are alarming. Children are experiencing an enormous amount of anxiety and fear in the environment.

“Due to the high infectivity rate every other household is experiencing affected individuals/hospitalization. Children are seeing, listening, feeling the negativity in the environment. Also, they are exposed to neglect, abuse, domestic violence, excessive screen time, unhealthy diet, etc. Due to all this, there are changes in sleep patterns ( both quality and quantity-wise) and behavioral concerns. There is a definite rise in psychological and psychiatric illnesses in children. Depression, anxiety, panic attacks, post-traumatic stress have increased in children and adolescents,” Dr. Kapoor said.

However, parents can take several essential steps that will alleviate their anxiety and resolve the depressing environment which they are facing throughout the day and night.

“Help children channelize their energies by helping them express themselves through creative work, household chores, board games, etc. Try to establish a structured daily routine, to prevent chaos and mayhem in the thought process. Structured daily activities increase productivity and regulate the thought process. This may have long-term impairment of cognition, mental, physical, and working capacity of future adults. Only time will tell about the future, as such a situation has not happened since ages and there is no experience of such a pandemic in anyone living today,” Dr. Kapoor said.