|LETTER TO THE EDITOR
|Year : 2020 | Volume
| Issue : 3 | Page : 164-165
The Impact of COVID-19 on Children − Parent’s Perspective
Buthaina Al-Balushi1, Musthafa Mohamed Essa2
1 Department of Food Science and Nutrition, College of Agricultural and Marine Sciences, Sultan Qaboos University, Al-Khoud, Muscat, Oman
2 Department of Food Science and Nutrition, College of Agricultural and Marine Sciences, Sultan Qaboos University, Al-Khoud, Muscat; Ageing and Dementia Research Group, Sultan Qaboos University, Muscat, Oman
|Date of Submission||22-Jun-2020|
|Date of Decision||02-Jul-2020|
|Date of Acceptance||03-Jul-2020|
|Date of Web Publication||20-Aug-2020|
Musthafa Mohamed Essa
Department of Food Science and Nutrition, CAMS, Sultan Qaboos University, Muscat
Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None
|How to cite this article:|
Al-Balushi B, Essa MM. The Impact of COVID-19 on Children − Parent’s Perspective. Int J Nutr Pharmacol Neurol Dis 2020;10:164-5
Although the number of children infected with corona virus (COVID-19) is less among all other forms of life in the global population, the psychological impact in this group was mostly severe. Children’s lifestyle and routine has been totally affected due to the COVID-19 safety measures including lockdown, home quarantine, etc. This psychological impact may vary from one child to another, but the most common reasons are school closure, lack of outdoor activities, group activities, lack of direct interaction with peers, changes in dietary habits, and sleeping habits.
Social distancing via school closure was one of the measures taken globally to stop the spread of this deadly COVID-19 among kids. All extracurricular activities have also been put to a stop as a preventive measure. These have highly impacted our kid’s psychology and mental health as it is prohibiting them from socializing with their mates, school friends, and teachers. Distance learning was one of the solutions implemented during this COVID-19 lockdown period to help kids continue their education online which kept the kids busy. Under these extremely exceptional circumstances, though it was very difficult at the beginning to force kids to concentrate and follow all the classes online, eventually it became manageable. As parents, it was a great relief that our children are spending their morning hours in useful academic activities. This ensured that the kids followed a specific routine with classwork and homework. Kids were able to interact with their teachers, which though not ideal like a classroom setup was a relief to the kids.
With online learning being shut down for the summer break, kids have no sense of routine to follow. This in turn brings in sedentary behavior as a normal consequence and transformed them compulsively into less active kids.
Eating and sleeping habits have drastically changed in most households as an impact on children by this pandemic. A drastic increase in screen time has become a new normal as an outcome. With a lot of free time on hand, kids are spending long hours in front of TV/videogames, smartphones and tablets for entertainment as an alternative to outdoor activities. This in turn affects kids’ sleep pattern.
Another impact is overeating due to boredom and stress which in turn may lead to obesity. The best way to resolve this problem is getting them involved in their meals preparation which will take them longer to get one meal and try to choose healthy choices like salads, fresh juices, and healthy sandwiches. Although keeping the kids busy with household chores and meal preparations does keep them busy, it does not emotionally balance the lack of outdoor activities and peer/social interactions.
Lack of outdoor activities to vent out all the pent up energy, the occurrence of sibling rivalry has increased. Even in normal circumstances, it’s very hard to control children activities, and stay home quarantine has actually escalated the situation. As a result the kids release their stress via tantrums and violent outbursts. Thus as a parent, I believe that the best way from my perspective to overcome these problems is to involve your kids in as many family indoor activities as possible. We must be more flexible and understanding and try to be innovative in creating more games and activities that will help keep our kids to be active. Being active in turn may increase their spirits. Interaction and understanding the roles and responsibilities of the household would instill family values and hopefully help the kids spend their excess energy usefully.
Everyday updates on this deadly pandemic are scary for the children and elderly. As parents our role is to protect them from their worst fears and stress. It’s really challenging doing this along with our own work and household responsibilities, but not impossible. Better planning and implementation would help us organize ourselves and thereby spend more valuable time with our family. Every parent knows that there is not a problem that cannot be solved by just speaking with our kids. Spending quality one-on-one time and encouraging our kids to speak their hearts out is the best way to overcome their emotional stress. Talking about similar events that took place in the past and providing reassurance that this too shall pass is another way of relieving the stress caused by this pandemic among family members.
The language and technical editing done by The Editing Refinery, MD, USA, is highly acknowledged.
Financial support and sponsorship
Conflict of interest
There are no conflicts of interest to declare.