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How Young Children Have Been Coping During the Pandemic

By David T. Valentin

With two vaccines being rolled out, this nightmare of almost a year seems to be coming to an end. But even with the vaccine, progress has been slow. Many states here in the United States have been slow in their distribution of the vaccine, which makes people think that we may be dealing with soft quarantines for another six to eight months.

It has been a long year for most of us, but for younger children it has been especially hard. With no way of socializing through school and no new experiences coming their way, many children have been frustrated.

In an article published by Huffpost, many parents have noticed a shift in their young children’s behaviors but have been confused on how to deal with it. The confusion has led to many parents wondering whether they’re doing their best at parenting.

As the article states, children in their early years rely on their experiences more than their words to make sense of the world around them.

“They attune to the emotions of people around them by noticing tone of voice, expression, level of patience, attention and so on,” child psychologist Jennifer Wills Lamacq explains. “For many parents, lockdown has been challenging, stressful, and upsetting which has an understandable impact on the atmosphere.”

Not only has the pandemic affected their mood at home but also the mood of children at nursery schools. Amanda Gummer, another child psychologist, weighs in on the subject, noting that many children do not have a release for their emotions the same way they might outside of the home. Because of the lockdowns and their lack of social interaction, Gummer has noted that social skills for children have been set back dramatically. She notes this is why some children are finding nursery school difficult.

So what can parents do to help? There are a few notable things. Counselor Karen Schumann recommends parents to set a time of day to provide undivided attention to children. Whether that take the form of reading, playing, or watching TV together.

Lamacq recommends parents to also help children understand their emotions. If a child is acting up, ask the child to name their emotions and support them through their tantrums. Help children move on from their tantrums, let them ride it out. By helping them understand their emotions now, will help them in the future if these same emotions reoccur.


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