“Recently, my son is suddenly angry, which has never happened before,” said the mother of a 13-year-old. Recently, many parents in Bangladesh are concerned about changes in their children’s behavior due to the Kovid-19 ban. They are concerned about the impact of the epidemic on children’s lives in the future.
According to ‘Impact of Kovid-19 Pandemic on the Mental Health of Children in Bangladesh: A Cross-Sectional Study’ (Children and Youth Services, October 2020), children are suffering from depression, anxiety and sleep problems. The rates of moderate and severe mental problems are 19.3 and 6.2 percent respectively.
The children are under house arrest as the school has been closed for a long time. Death and anxiety all around. Losing familiar lives and being separated from friends is increasing their stress. Children’s reactions to difficult situations are different from those of adults. Some adapt quickly. Again, many want to hold on to their parents, keep themselves wrapped up, and express anger or frustration.
In an interview, Nancy Close (Assistant Professor at the Yale School of Medicine’s Center for Child Studies and Associate Director of the Yale Program in Early Childhood Education) said: Some are talking like children younger than their age, needing help with someone বা or personal work, which was not needed before. At the uncertain time of the Kovid-19 epidemic, children may feel anxious and frustrated, which is responsible for their behavioral problems.
Recently I had the opportunity to discuss with 10 to 12 children aged 6 to 15 years. They are trying to be as good as they are. However, while staying at home, they have become breathless naturally. Some raised the issue so that parents could spend more time with them. In adverse situations children want a little more love and attention from adults. Parents need to take care of the matter. According to the daily routine, the work should be maintained as far as possible before the epidemic. Children need to be helped to work on new plans if needed. Children need to be kept active in reading, playing, drawing, gardening and other activities to reduce their dependence on electronic devices. Parents also need to reduce spending time on laptops or smartphones, as children learn by watching adults.
The children are under house arrest as the school has been closed for a long time. Death and anxiety all around. Losing familiar lives and being separated from friends is increasing their stress.
Research has shown that when parents give their children age-appropriate love and guidance, they grow properly. Children at different ages need to understand feelings and thoughts. Effective communication of the child with the parents is important at any time. It is even more urgent in the current epidemic. Children’s reactions need to be monitored. But you shouldn’t ask too many questions about feelings. He needs to be reassured so that he understands that his words will be taken seriously.
Parents will give children information about the symptoms of Kovid-19, how the virus spreads, and how to protect themselves and others. There is no need to see the news of the epidemic in front of the children again and again and express concern about it. Because, it will increase their undue anxiety. The epidemic is an opportunity to teach children the importance of getting moderate amounts of news and reliable sources.
If the child or any member of his family feels ill and needs hospitalization, the child must be notified in advance. If a child is infected with Kovid-19, he should be kept with his parents and family at all stages of the infection as far as possible. If hospitalization, quarantine or separation is required for any reason, it is necessary to maintain contact with the telephone or other means and reassure the child regularly.
Teachers need to improve their skills so that they can support students after the school opens. Teachers need to be trained to understand the symptoms of mental problems in children and arrange referrals if necessary. The media can play a role in creating awareness among adults about the importance of sensitizing children to normal times and disasters.
The Executive Director of UNICEF has warned that if appropriate steps are not taken to ensure the well-being of children, “the psychological consequences of this generation of children and young people could outweigh the immediate effects of the Covid-19 epidemic on health and the economy, with long-term social and economic damage.”
Kovid-19 is harming children’s education, health and safety. The results are far-reaching. The progress that has been made so far in achieving child rights may be delayed in the next decade. For example, child marriage, child labor and child abuse have increased in many countries of the world including Bangladesh. The main reasons for this are rising poverty and long school closures. Much depends on the decision we make now. If we are sincere in overcoming the negative effects of this epidemic in the lives of children, then policy makers must increase investment with the priority of children. Child sensitive social security system is needed to tackle family poverty. In order to make up for the irreparable loss that has taken place in education, everyone must work with the highest importance on this issue at the national level. Children’s law, It is the responsibility of the state to ensure accountability in the implementation of policies and action plans. Children will be better off if everyone in the society listens attentively to the children from their own position and understands their feelings.