I wish my children could play with their friends again
Whilst the COVID-19 pandemic has reported to have a lower risk of serious health problems for children, it has nevertheless significantly impacted upon their social lives in ways many parents could not have imagined.
Many parents have spoken to us about concerns for their child’s emotional well-being asking how to support and manage their behaviour and emotions. These have been even higher for parents of children with special educational needs.
Loneliness and social isolation have affected children’s short and long-term mental health according to research.
It is the duration of loneliness rather than its intensity that is the problem so therefore children’s emotional health is suffering particularly if they are in the year groups that have not been able to return to school.
Play is so very important for children’s well-being.
The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, Article 31 defines play as a fundamental right. However, the very nature of lockdown has meant that the importance of play for children’s well-being has been difficult to meet.
We know for social and emotional well-being, children need to engage in all types of play. Some children will have spent more time playing alone or with parents and siblings. They have been deprived of the opportunities to play with their peers unless they have returned to some form of educational setting – nursery, preschool or school itself.
Play can be extremely helpful when children are feeling anxious and stressed.
Play helps children work through their emotions and make sense of things. The Association for Child and Adolescent Mental Health has already written to the government urging ministers to prioritise children’s social and emotional well-being and all decisions relating to the easing of lockdown and reopening of schools.
We would therefore also be supporting their stance that through the loosening of restrictions. It should be done in a way that provides all children with the opportunity to play with peers and would include being able to play with their friends outside of school, as soon as possible even if the gatherings are very small and held outdoors infrequently. Positively, the ongoing easing of the lockdown will enable this to happen more so.
Nevertheless, the pandemic has resulted in many children finding it difficult to either learn effectively or struggling emotionally. Parents too are finding it difficult to navigate their way through these new times and wondering where they might be able to turn to help.
It maybe that the time in lockdown has raised many more concerns from parents around their son or daughter and that they now feel they would like to talk to someone about and try and make sense of.
If this is the case, then we would hope that we would be able to offer a variety of support services and assessment that would enable us to piece that jigsaw together. Together with you we will try to make sense of what has been and continues to happen during these difficult times.
Here to help
If you would like to get in touch to find out what services we offer, then please do telephone us on 01423 637818 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will do our very best to find something that fits for you as a family.