India

Socialization may be a concern for students returning to schools: Experts

By PTI

New Delhi: Observing that the COVID pandemic has severely affected the mental health of children, health experts have said that socializing could be a cause for concern for students returning to schools as they spend long hours with their friends. and were physically distant from the teachers. .

On the occasion of World Mental Health Day on Sunday, health experts said children may be facing anxiety in returning to school and have warned their parents and teachers about warning signs such as lack of concentration and need to restart schools. After opening it, the children were advised to get angry suddenly. .

Schools are reopening in several states and union territories after being closed for months due to the pandemic.

Experts believe that socialization could be a cause for concern for students returning to schools as children were physically away from their friends and teachers for a long period of time due to the pandemic.

Gracie Andrew, India’s vice president and country director of the NGO Corestone, advises parents to allow their children to acknowledge and allow their fears.

“Often parents will negate the emotion by saying ‘don’t be afraid’ or ‘don’t be fooled, there’s nothing to fear’ – instead it’s important to let children express their fears and accept that it’s natural to feel anxious. Next is to really check what they’re afraid of? Is it just happening to other kids or is it just a fear of having covid. Then they need to know about safety and the children’s low risk of becoming seriously ill. Provide information, even if they are sick and infected. Parents can support children by being there for them when they go back to school,” she told PTI.

Andrew added that teachers can also let children express their fears through activities based on developmental age/level in classrooms.

“Providing them with information about the virus so that they have the knowledge and most importantly not to make attendance mandatory – giving children the option to go a few days a week initially and then as they settle down , the speed may increase. In,” she said.

Dr Jyoti Kapoor, Senior Psychiatrist, Paras Hospital, Gurgaon said that parents can play an important role in bringing the children back to normalcy.

“The pandemic has affected the mental health of children as badly as ever. One of the most prominent aspects of socialization is the concern as children were physically away from their friends and teachers for a long period of time. play an important role in helping to normalize. Watch for warning signs such as lack of concentration, sudden anger, etc.,” she said.

“But most importantly, parents should get fully vaccinated as a first step to address their anxiety. They should also teach children how to maintain masks and hand hygiene. Sports and Activities like cycling and kabaddi that promote interaction without getting too close to the partners are also a good way to address their anxiety,” Kapoor told PTI.

Dr Anant Bhan, researcher, Global Health, Bioethics and Health Policy, said it is important for school management and the government to reassure parents about the steps being taken to reduce the risk of transmission.

“Children need to be counseled about the risks of caution, the need to focus on ensuring ventilation, and full immunization needs to be encouraged for all adults with whom children will interact (teachers, school staff, school transport workers, as well as members of their own families), the use of masks according to age criteria. It is also important to remember that there are benefits to opening a school and socializing with other children of your age, and this overall It can be an important component of growth and development of our next generation,” Bhan said.

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