Parents are becoming increasingly concerned about the prospect of a third wave, as numerous states mandate school reopenings. Parents’ fears and anxieties about their children’s safety are palpable, and many argue that authorities should wait until the vaccine is ready for youngsters. Learning to control anxiety and accept uncertainty are vital skills for anybody, but they’re especially critical for parents in this circumstance. Medically Speaking spoke with a few specialists about how to deal with this anxiety and what the best course of action is in this circumstance.
Shweta Sharma, Clinical Psychologist and Founder of Mansa Foundation says, “The children are utterly stranded and dissatisfied. Anxiety disorders are far more prevalent among youngsters, and parents are experiencing mixed emotions as they are both frightened and happy that their children will soon be able to return to the real world.”
She further said, “In such instances, we recommend that they communicate with the youngster in a nice manner so that they understand and do not feel compelled to wear the mask all the time. Hugs and physical touch are widespread among teenagers. Only a pleasant interaction with the parents would assist in this instance.”
Dr Prakamya Singal, Psychiatrist from Safdarjung Hospital observed, “It is very legitimate and natural for parents, children, teachers, and school people as well to have all these anxieties because these are unprecedented times, and no one can really ever be sure as to what is going to happen next. I think one of the most important things that needs to be at the center of all of this is an open and honest dialogue between all of the stakeholders.”
“I think we can also have a shift in the way that we are perceiving the situation. Having a unimodal view where we’re only looking at the harms of reopening schools is going to lead us to make probably not so wise decisions. Opening up schools right now might be a risky venture, but then there are also a lot of disadvantages to having our children locked up in their houses. Teenage is a critical stage where the mind needs to develop emotional quotient. Children need to learn how to be able to read others’ faces. This is what schooling and education is about,” she added.
Dr Sharma said, “We’re concentrating on different activities where public spaces are available, and we’re really going with the kids just to change the setting. So, what exactly is the problem with schools? There is an option. You are not required to send them on a regular basis. You don’t have to send them on alternate days. You should send them at least two or three times a week, if not more.
However, those adjustments are necessary for their psychological well-being. Because anxiety and depression in youngsters are already at an all-time high. They’re irritable. They are coming with the issues. The problem is also affecting parents. Especially with that age bracket, that interpersonal bond is already strained. So, in my judgement, if we are going to explore it, and with all the safeguards in place, I believe the government should applaud this initiative.”
Analysing the move of the government and the impact of online classes on children, Dr. Amrita Dass, Founder of ICS Institute for career studies says, “It has a significant negative impact on students because, while epidemic classes and, to some extent, virtual co-curricular activities are possible, they are insufficient for a student’s all-round development, and it is through all-round development that they develop employability skills, as well as opportunities for leadership, creativity, and teamwork. There are also many students who do not have access to online classes because many schools do not offer them, and some schools that do offer them have students with poor internet access. As a result, there are students who have completely missed out, and they are looking forward to returning to school and getting back into the excitement of teaching and co-curricular activities. There has been a great deal of worry and tension about the future, particularly since the board examinations were cancelled. They were unconcerned about the cancellation, but they were concerned about the future of higher education.”
Dr Dass added, “There’s another essential point to consider. Nobody is talking about the impact on preschool and kindergarten children. Younger children require experiences that cannot be duplicated online for their social and mental development. We should help them in small groups, with parents volunteering. In terms of emotional, social, and linguistic development, these children have suffered the most. Parents are not adequately prepared to provide the type of education that nursery and KG children require.”