There’s Gen X and Gen Y – and now there’s the COVID-19 generation. For kids and teens, the pandemic has created significant changes that are affecting both learning and social development. It’s possible today’s circumstances could impact this generation for years to come.
During a typical summer break, kids lose about 25 percent of what they learned during the school year. But 2020 is different because most kids have been home for months. At-home learning affects kids differently. High achievers likely have an easier time staying on track because they tend to pick up new concepts faster. But lower achievers might struggle without in-person teacher guidance and group activities.
Socioeconomic status is another factor that greatly affects learning during the pandemic. Kids from marginalized backgrounds may have unreliable internet, fewer opportunities to complete schoolwork in a quiet space, parents who are essential workers, and even nutritional deficiencies. When going back to in-classroom learning, it will be important to carefully evaluate where everyone is and take extra time to help those who need help catching up.
COVID-19 also affects social development. Kids need interactions with their peers to develop social skills and a sense of identity. Longer school breaks also correspond with increased anxiety and depression in some kids – especially those who are already prone to these behavioral health conditions.
Fortunately, there are steps parents can take to help minimize COVID-19’s impact on learning and social development. Start with having a consistent routine. Make sure your kids are doing the bulk of their learning during school hours and have a set time for homework. Outside of schoolwork, help your child eat healthy, exercise regularly and get enough sleep.
You can also find ways to help them maintain social relationships through social media or socially distanced meetups. As a family, you should eat dinner together and have game and movie nights. There are opportunities for families to become closer during this time, and helping kids learn how to master challenges and manage stress will create resiliency they can draw on in the future.
If your child is having difficulty with learning or social development, Linden Oaks Behavioral Health can help. We offer free behavioral health assessments as well as therapy programs tailored to kids and teens. These programs are offered in-person or virtually on a daily or weekly basis. To learn more, visit us online or call 630-305-5027.