Stressors from the Pandemic for Children and Solutions

Original Publishing Date – April 19, 2020
Publisher – The Washington Post
Author – Leonardo Trasande and Benard Dreyer

“The capacity of the next generation to manage other disasters depends very much on our children rising from the challenges we face now and not simply surviving, but thriving and developing into their fullest potential.”

 Though children are less vulnerable to coronavirus, the COVID-19 pandemic might have a detrimental impact on their overall health. This could lead to long term mental and physical illness in children. These consequences could also lead to behavioral issues like violence and drug abuse. 

 “Puberty is a particularly crucial time for growth and development in key parts of the brain that control emotion regulation and cognitive function.”

 Children are in the early developmental stages of their lives and are easily susceptible to stress, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder. The stress could be even more damaging to those children who have previously experienced trauma. A parent’s well-being can also affect children. Furthermore, stress experienced during pregnancy can also be passed onto kids, who may also additionally suffer from physiological problems like reduced lung function. 

 “We need a trauma-informed approach to care that cuts across all aspects of child and family care, as well as ages and stages of development.”

 Children will need additional medical care to help cope with stress. A different approach is needed to treat children affected by the pandemic. Research on the effects of terror attacks and disasters have given insights that could be used to approach children more sensitively. Pediatricians have designed interventions like videos, toys, and books which can help improve parent-child interactions. After things get back to normal, schools must provide psychological screenings to their students.

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