Pandemic hits young children’s lives especially hard

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Picture by Emily Goldstein '23

Students sit in front of the bright screen for hours which can be physically and mentally draining. These changes in the schooling environment can be a detriment to different aspects of mental health.

Emily Goldstein ’23, Staff Writer

Singing the ABC’s during snack time and playing with building blocks are fundamental parts of a child’s schooling experience; however, with the pandemic, the lives of elementary school kids have been turned upside down. With remote schooling and playdates being cancelled, children are forced into isolation and aren’t getting the same childhood experiences us older kids remember. The social, emotional and academic consequences of the pandemic have taken an unprecedented toll on young children. 

Remote learning has many detrimental effects on younger kids who would thrive and be much better off in a classroom environment. To start off, when you are that young, your attention span is extremely short; causing many distractions to schoolwork. If children are in a bad working environment at home, it can be even harder to focus. Many parents are working full hours, and aren’t available to help their kids maintain focus in front of the screen. This makes it nearly impossible for young kids to actually absorb material and learn important skills. 

Additionally, young students sitting at home all day are not learning how to read facial expressions, and they are missing out on the entirety of the social climate provided at school. At a young age, it is so important to socialize and learn how to talk to peers and teachers, but the isolation that the pandemic has created does not allow that. Staring at a screen and listening to a teacher read aloud through the computer is a completely different learning experience from sitting right in front of them as they open up a book. Kids learn best in an environment where they are engaged and socially connected, which is so far from what they experience with online school.

The lack of stability and uncertainty for children can provoke anxiety, stress and feelings of depression or loneliness. Many families are stressed because of economic situations, or loved ones affected by the virus, which can generate a toxic household environment for young kids. Anxiety and stress at a young age are especially difficult to deal with because most kids aren’t used to handling immense negative emotions. This negativity could affect all aspects of life, including interactions between family members, as well as academic performances. 

The pandemic is hard for all students, but the younger elementary kids are getting slammed in all directions. They are at the age where more knowledge is starting to be acquired, and with what’s going on right now it can definitely be hard to obtain this knowledge.  The various negative effects of the pandemic are hurting younger kids socially and academically which is setting this generation behind.