Parenting Connection: Mental health impact of kids 10 and younger after a year of isolation

Parenting Connection

LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – It’s Parenting Connection Tuesday and 6 News is here for you with tips, strategies, and helpful reminders from local child development experts on how we can be better parents and guardians.

Today’s topic: The mental health impact of kids 10 and younger after a year of isolation

Mental health experts say despite being at such an early stage in life, this age group can still suffer from things like depression, anxiety, and conduct disorder. Unfortunately, isolation like most kids have endured over the past year, can suddenly cause these conditions to appear in a child mom and dad may have never suspected.

Mental health experts say, a year of online learning and being physically away from most friends and family may be impacting self-esteem. This can then lead to young kids feeling lost, unliked, or unsupported. Child developmental expert Kylie Rymanowicz says, the best thing a parent can do for a child right now, or in any stressful situation, is to be present, be tuned in, and be responsive.

“No matter how much exposure your children had with the pandemic and the world in the last year, it’s really important that you are pro-active and checking-in with them to see if they are ok.”

Rymanowicz says this involves paying attention and picking up on non-verbal cues — like noticing withdrawal or acting out. Signs of withdrawal include:

*Sleeping a lot to avoid being around anyone
*Showing no interest in things they use to love
*Refusing to do activities or chores
*Saying out loud they’re sad

Child experts all agree that kids are very resilient and won’t be alone with trying to mentally move beyond a year of feeling alone because this pandemic wasn’t a limited experience. So, when kids transition back to a more normal situation — everybody is going to have to adjust to figure it out.

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