Humans are social creatures. We take our cues from each other, and the environment around us. As we receive this information or stimulus, we process it and its contents are vital during childhood development. So what are the effects of social isolation during Lockdown on kids? What happens when (physical) social contact is dramatically reduced, as is the case during the COVID-19 pandemic?
(Some) adults will have developed a framework to manage and can source the tools to support themselves (exercise perhaps, or escapism, or communicating with others.) Children are not so fortunate. They depend on the connection, guidance, and support of those around them, which is why children that receive less support can suffer from more social, emotional, or educational challenges if they live in isolation. Loneliness has links to stress and poor mental health. Why? If the body’s stress response feels consistently under threat, it can be mentally and physically tiring, and perpetuate habitual loops – anxiety, being one example.
Lockdown has moved more of our ‘connection’ online. While that’s a ‘plus’ in many respects, there is something inside human physical contact that many of us overlook. There are dimensions of connection that the supercomputer of the brain reads – facial muscles, postures, gestures, and tonality to hear the words being spoken, or feel the story being shared, even if that’s conveyed with a look.
Dean McCoubrey, Founder of MySociaLife which educates parents, students, and teachers about eight different aspects (lessons) of the complex aspects of lifeonline explains, “MySociaLife has consistently seen that time is a key factor in supporting children. Both p arents and students share this with us. Many adults (custodians) may need to slow down a little to hear them, to truly listen and pick up the cues, to ensure they feel supported and therefore reduce that stress. At the same time, that creates the space to educate them about your values or resilience, for example. They see you, hear you, and mirror you, based upon that important stream of content, as opposed to seeking it from friends or social media. Time is powerful.”
Friends, aunts, and uncles, or grandparents offer layers of support and influence, and these (hopefully positive) influences and networks help our kids grow, acting as the seeds which allow them to flourish. Make the connections as best you can with the time you have. It will pay dividends.
More wellbeing tips here on Parent24.