[Dimitri ] Christakis says the serious effects of this crisis on children like Phoebe have been overlooked.
“The decision to close schools initially, and now to potentially keep them closed, isn’t, I think, taking the full measure of the impact this is going to have on children,” he told NPR. “Not just the short term, but the long term.”
The problem, Christakis says, isn’t just learning loss, which is expected to fall particularly hard on low-income children with unequal access to distance learning. Recent research from a large testing association on the “COVID-19 slide” suggests children may return in the fall having made almost a third less progress in reading, and half as much progress in math, compared with what they would have in a typical school year.
Mental health and social-emotional development, Christakis argues, have been less discussed: “The social-emotional needs of children to connect with other children in real time and space, whether it’s for physical activity, unstructured play or structured play, this is immensely important for young children in particular.” A new study in JAMA Pediatrics, he says, documents elevated depression and anxiety among children under lockdown in China.
A third major risk, says Christakis, is child abuse.
Nightmares. Tantrums. Grief. Violent outbursts. Even suicidal thoughts.
Parents across the country shared their concerns with NPR — worried that their young children’s mental health is suffering amid the coronavirus crisis and school closures.https://t.co/YPcUmf3nHD
— NPR (@NPR) May 14, 2020