The pandemic and children's mental health
Something I love about working with children is their general positivity and upbeat attitude but it’s often easy to breeze over the fact that many share some of the same worries, concerns and anxieties as we do. And, while children are not considered within the high risk group from a medical point of view, they may have been significantly impacted in so many other ways by the ongoing pandemic.
As with everything, the lockdowns have their pros and cons. Speaking to parents recently, I’ve heard that some children have shown significant cognitive development, having spent more one-on-one time at home with their parents. However, we must not forget the negative impact it may have had on their social skills and mental health. We’ve gone from years of teaching children to share with others and welcome new friends into their group - to closing parks, telling them to keep a distance from their friends, not visiting family and telling them not to share their toys. For younger children, this must seem so confusing.
What effect has this had on their social development?
Social interaction is one of the most important aspects of every child’s development and it’s important to give children the opportunity to interact with their peers in a range of situations. The benefits of social interaction from an early age will stay with children as they move into adulthood. From teamwork and sharing, to understanding social cues and making new friends, the benefits of social interaction provides an important foundation for children. Having had our social lives restricted for most of 2020, we have a lot of catching up to do, both socially and emotionally.
It’s an age-old phrase but practice makes perfect. At Perform, we’re focused on developing the 4 Cs (confidence, communication, concentration, coordination) and we dedicate time each week to developing and practicing these skills. I truly believe that confidence just requires practice. The more we do something, the less scary it is and the more confident we become. The same goes for feeling comfortable when meeting new people, walking into new environments and trying new things.
Many children had their lives turned upside down overnight and, following six months at home, may not have been as excited to return to school and its routines as we may have assumed. Some may have enjoyed the solitary learning experience and been worried about returning to a big noisy class of children. Some children may have found staying at home an escape from bullying. Others may have been excited to return to their friends but concerned about catching or passing on coronavirus. Some teachers have mentioned that, since returning to school, those children in early years have struggled having missed their final term at nursery, not having had time to learn the basics or properly prepare for their move to primary school. On the opposite end of the spectrum, some older students have suffered as a result of the lack of discipline and routine which school provides, making settling back into the school structure increasingly difficult. I found this article from the NHS and Young Minds’ Every Mind Matters Campaign useful when considering my own children’s return to school.
How can Perform help?
Child development is at the heart of everything we do at Perform. We use a unique mix of drama, dance and singing - specially developed and written by us - to bring out every child’s true potential. Our classes will boost confidence, develop communication skills and provide a creative outlet to make friends and have fun. Our teachers are highly skilled at adapting to suit the individuals in the class, making sure that each child reaps the benefits. If you’ve not tried Perform before, or not returned yet, we’d love to offer you a FREE trial at your nearest venue or with Perform at Home. Let us help settle your child back into the world of fun, laughter and socialisation, while giving you total peace of mind that they are being left in a Covid-Safe environment.
If you’d like to keep the confidence-building fun going at home, why not give some of our games a go yourself? I’ve chosen some of our best games and segmented them by age range. I’d love to know if you’ve tried any.
Book your child's FREE trial at your nearest venue online or by calling us on 0207 255 9120.