Have maternal pre-pandemic stress levels influenced children’s mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic?

Have maternal pre-pandemic stress levels influenced children’s mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic?

The ongoing coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has had a tremendous impact on many spheres of life across the globe, from physical and mental health to social and economic wellbeing. Preventive strategies aimed at curbing viral transmission levels, such as isolation and social distancing, have posed several challenges to affected families.

Quarantine restrictions have a proven influence on the social and emotional development of children and adolescents. Everyday restrictions such as school closures, quarantine, and the cancellation of outdoor activities have negatively affected many families. Moreover, external support from family members or social institutions has been limited, which has exacerbated the circumstances of many already stressed families. Study: Mothers’ daily perceived stress influences their children’s mental health during SARS-CoV-2-pandemic—an online survey.

A stable and secure family environment with mentally healthy parents is a strong protective factor for children. Ongoing research focusing on pandemic-related effects on children 3 and 6 years of age shows that compared to older children, younger ones are significantly more likely to experience symptoms of stress in their social and emotional development. Role of maternal daily perceived stress on the mental health of children during the pandemic

A recent study, published in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Mental Health , assessed the role of maternal daily perceived stress on the mental health of children during the pandemic. They conducted an online survey to assess children’s mental health since the beginning of the pandemic. Data from a longitudinal survey was used to assess maternal perceived everyday stress. The survey included elements of the Childhood Trauma Questionnaire, the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire, and the Perceived Stress Scale. They also collected socio-demographic data of the families and applied Tobit models for estimation due to limited dependent variables.

They found that maternal perceived everyday stress had a significant impact on children’s emotional issues during the pandemic. The results provided empirical evidence for increased hyperactivity levels in children dependent on the mother’s perceived stress before the pandemic started. There was no significant relationship between the mother’s perceived everyday stress and behavioral problems of children. Lack of pre-pandemic protective factors and its influence on mental health during the pandemic

Existing studies on mental stress in parents and children mainly focus on the link between the pandemic and stress levels of parents and children. In contrast, this study considered longitudinally recorded maternal daily perceived stress. Maternal perceived stress was measured across the first years of their children’s life (starting from birth) and was not limited to stress caused by the pandemic.

There is a lack of literature estimating the influence of a combined measure of both the effects of pre-pandemic stressors and pandemic-related distress on health outcomes,” writes the team.

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How Technology Can Facilitate Early-Stage Education

How Technology Can Facilitate Early-Stage Education

We have long been aware that the early development of children’s social, emotional, and cognitive abilities is key for lifelong learning and wellbeing . However, lively debate continues regarding how to make use of technology when teaching children ten and younger.

Many educators and parents view early-stage education academically and, therefore, rigidly. For example, preschools often stuff curricula and day-to-day education with academic instructions that hone in sharply on a particular skill, such as reading, calculating, or solving textbook problems.

Rather than taking a skills-only approach with young learners, educators can adopt a teaching style that develops their natural willingness and curiosity to learn and study instead by integrating technology to facilitate learning experiences from a young age.

Let’s take a closer look at what is important in early-stage education and the tools that can help children develop a lifelong curiosity to learn.

Why the Right Early-Stage Education Is so Important

Young students are open to different learning experiences, and they also pick up new things more easily. As the brain slowly matures, so do the synapses , making connections and building habits that solidify with experience and repetition. Further, young children are less biased . This means they are more open to new information and alternative reasoning.

During this eight year period, children develop the base for their future development. Children also develop the curiosity to learn and the right habits and practices to study. Once children have these foundations to build on, it is easier for them to acquire skills of all kinds in the future.

Giving technological tools to children from a young age is a controversial issue . While many people are in favor of technology, others doubt its value with young children. However, using technology in a reasonable way can bring immense benefits to children. For example, if a school is teaching students about insects, visiting a botanical garden is a very practical and memorable experience. However, educators can’t go to a zoo or other off-campus locations every time they want to deliver a new learning experience. But with the help of technological tools such as simulations, explanatory videos, and other digital resources, teachers can replicate real-life experiences every day and on a large scale.

Using Technology in Pre- and Elementary School Classrooms

During early education, technology can facilitate different learning experiences, strengthen children’s curiosity, and build their ability to study self-sufficiently.

When school content is theoretical and abstract, educators can give children access to video materials, colorful interactive graphics, and educational apps. While audio-visual material grabs children’s attention and makes complex concepts easier to understand, using apps or web search enables children to follow their individual path of learning.

In preschool children should be able to explore, try, and experience things. Educators should focus on comprehensive learning experiences that strengthen children’s curiosity. For example, when students have their first contact with numbers, letters, and stories, teachers can use technology to practice content while they are playing.

Continue reading the rest at news.elearninginside.com

Does Your Child Hate Soccer? Here are 28 Hobbies for Kids You Haven’t Thought Of

Does Your Child Hate Soccer? Here are 28 Hobbies for Kids You Haven’t Thought Of

Hobbies are skill-building activities that relax and inspire you on the regular. In fact, a good one is downright therapeutic for kids and adults alike. If the young person in your life is spending too much of their free time sitting passively in front of a screen , a new interest is likely the only intervention they need. Of course, you can’t pick a hobby for another human, since the ones that really stick are those that speak to a person’s individual interests, but chances are you know your child pretty well. If you’re hoping to give your kid a gentle push in the right direction (i.e., away from Roblox), plant the seed by suggesting one of these unique and stimulating hobbies for kids.

1. Gardening

Aside from the obvious appeal of a hobby that allows kids to get their hands dirty, gardening is also an excellent activity for mindfulness , so it will calm your kid down while providing a physical workout to boot. Bonus: You don’t even need to have an outdoor space of your own for your child to put their green thumb to work, because time spent at a community garden can be equally rewarding.

2. Volunteering

Regular volunteer work is a crash course in compassion that teaches kids the importance of giving back to the community. It’s also a fun way for kids to make new friends and meet interesting people from all walks of life. Plus, given the huge variety of volunteer opportunities available, this hobby will never get old.

3. Chess

This classic game of strategy provides a stimulating challenge at every level of play. The critical thinking involved in chess also has major brain-boosting benefits and kids can join chess clubs and compete in tournaments for some friendly competition as their skill-level increases.

4. Yoga

Yoga is a well-known and widely practiced activity that strengthens muscles, improves physical fitness and calms the mind—and it’s not just for grown-ups. Yoga classes for kids are an excellent option for young people who want a hobby that involves physical activity, without the competitive component of most other sports.

5. Photography

Older kids can nourish their creativity with photography as a hobby. Of course, you’ll have to provide the camera and your child will need to put some effort into learning the skills that go into getting a good shot, but the process of exploring their surroundings in search of new subjects is sure to inspire budding artists.

6. Scrapbooking

Any kid who’s old enough to work with a pair of scissors can take up scrapbooking—a hobby that encourages self-expression and creativity, while producing pieces of art that will continue to inspire pride any time […]

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Kids are feeling anxiety about a ‘return to normal’

Recently, I scheduled a playdate for my 6-year-old with a good friend she hadn’t seen in months because of the pandemic. She was so excited — until, suddenly, she wasn’t. As the day approached, my daughter grew more and more irritable. The day before, she demanded that we bake cookies and make signs for her friend. When I told her we couldn’t, she exploded in an angry meltdown.

After she calmed down, I sat down with her to try to figure out what was going on. She tearfully admitted that she was terrified: She worried that her friend wouldn’t like her anymore, which is why she was trying engineer the perfect playdate — to ensure that she could win her friend back after months of being out of touch.

If you, as a parent, have been experiencing anxiety about the “return to normal,” your kids are likely to be harboring similar feelings, perhaps even to a greater degree. “We’ve gone from pause to fast-forward,” says Rebecca Schrag Hershberg, a clinical psychologist who specializes in early-childhood social emotional development and mental health. “It’s just really overstimulating. For all of us, and certainly kids.”

On the one hand, these struggles can seem counterintuitive. Isn’t this exactly what we’ve been waiting for — for things to get back to the way they were? For our kids to once again enjoy birthday parties, camp and visits with extended family? Absolutely — but we also need to remember that big transitions can be hard for children. Going from hardly seeing anyone and not doing anything, to seeing everyone and doing everything, can be confusing and overwhelming.

It’s been more than a year since we led “normal” lives, which is a very, very long time for kids — especially toddlers and preschoolers. They may not remember what things were like before, so the return to normal may actually feel like a departure from normal — the changes may feel jarring instead of reassuring. Compared with who they were before the pandemic, little children right now “are facing the world as completely different people,” Hershberg says.

Some may also be struggling because they don’t understand why the activities they were told were unsafe during the pandemic are suddenly safe again, so it can be helpful to explain why. You can tell them, for instance, that there are scientists and doctors in charge who conduct research to figure out what’s safe, and that you listen to them and do what they advise. The very idea that there are people in charge of these big issues can be reassuring for kids, Hershberg says, and can help them understand that you have good reasons for changing your behavior.

Children are also still processing the challenges […]

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7 positive lockdown activities to practice as a family

7 positive lockdown activities to practice as a family

Maintaining a balance in life can be difficult but it’s not impossible.

A lot has been always talked about and written of mandatory restrictions that are imposed, in order to control the transmission of the coronavirus , but unfortunately not a lot of importance has been given to the mental crisis caused by this virus, which today is overriding everyone’s emotions, be it of kids or elders. According to the latest report issued by the National Centre for Biotechnology Information, mental issues like stress, anxiety, depressive symptoms, insomnia, denial, anger and fear have been reported globally.

Apart from individual sufferings, Covid-19 has also placed a heavy burden on families, with parents who are still not settled with navigating their work-life balance and kids unable to gear up with virtual learning.

Maintaining a balance can be difficult but it’s not impossible. Families, by coming together, can open many routes of positive thinking and make changes that suit their lifestyle at this given time. Here are some positive activities that families can practice during a lockdown to stay sane.

1. Exercise

This may sound quite ordinary but here’s a reminder why it is important to add exercise to your family’s calendar. Since connecting as a family is becoming more and more difficult these days, due to an excessive distraction from devices that vie for our attention throughout the day. It’s important to bring everyone in the family under one roof at least during the beginning and by the end of the day.

With this new sedentary lifestyle due to virtual classes and work-from-home schedules, everyone tends to move really less, however physical exercise is an opportunity to get everyone together and improve the well-being of all family members.

Some more reasons to practise physical activities as a family: Any physical activity signifies your healthy lifestyle choices; modelling it as a family practice will help you set an example as a parent.

While exercising, awareness plays an important role and it makes one feel fully present and engaged with the family.

Apart from these reasons, the primary aim is to set an intention of belonging and an environment of connection, which can act as a driving force for everyone in these difficult times.

2. Have a family screen time

This may sound bizarre, especially when parents are talking about limiting screen time , but indulging in movie time can help parents spend some extra time with their children and maintain their sanity levels. Parents can introduce their children to some old classics like Mrs. Doubtfire; Dr. Doolittle; Sound of Music; Honey, I Shrunk the Kids and The Avengers so that they are not stuck to Tom and Jerry […]

Continue reading the rest at indianexpress.com

‘Kids are suffering’: School Counselor Corps to expand mental health services

‘Kids are suffering’: School Counselor Corps to expand mental health services

On the first day of summer school for Okmulgee Public Schools, high school principal LuVona Copeland noticed multiple students exhibiting signs of anxiety. On day two, a few more students were showing signs.

“I’m very concerned,” Copeland said. “I think it’s getting back to being in a routine, getting back to being around other people because those kids were not in school all year long, they were virtual. There’s just not enough help where we are to handle everything on a regular basis, and I know in the fall it’s going to be bad.”

State education leaders agree.



As part of its Ready Together Oklahoma initiative aimed at supporting students throughout the pandemic and beyond, the State Department of Education is investing $35 million into a School Counselor Corps, which will fund 50 percent of the cost of new licensed counselor positions at public schools.

“Schools [have been] starting to understand about trauma, what the statistics are in our state and the assistance students may need,” said Shelly Ellis, deputy state superintendent of student support. “I believe this is part of the next step to what we can do to help assist students.”

Even before the pandemic, Copeland worried about the mental health of the young people in her eastern Oklahoma district.

“We had a great need before because of the demographics of our population,” she said. “We have very high poverty, 100 percent of our kids eat free at school — lots of single-parent homes, a lot of kids who are living with grandparents and great-grandparents. We had a great need to begin with, but probably about October we had kids starting to reach out to us.”

Copeland said students began reaching out to her and their teachers to express the difficulties they were having coping with the pandemic and getting school work done.

“I’ve had kids that tell me they wake up and just lay there and they can’t get themselves going,” she said. “They might not use the word ‘depression,’ but that’s exactly what they’re describing.”

Copeland said socially-distanced visits made by district staff to the homes of students who stopped participating in school virtually revealed more concerns.

“I started having parents tell me, ‘You don’t understand, COVID is a blessing for our family. He’s going to be able to work a full shift out at Walmart, and we’re going to be able to keep the gas on,’” Copeland recalled. “There’s a lot of layers to this that I didn’t anticipate. If you’re 16 or 17 years old and it’s on you to pay the gas bill, you’re going to do that before you do your school work. But that absolutely affects them, and here we are trying to reel them back in.”
About five years ago, Copeland said Okmulgee Public Schools started the approach of focusing on the “whole” student, including their mental health and emotional well-being. The district was able to hire a therapeutic counselor in 2019 to handle crisis management, among other duties, at school sites district wide. Still, one mental health professional is not enough.

Continue reading the rest at nondoc.com