MOBILE, Ala. (WALA) — Some local health officials are warning about the possible long-term impacts the pandemic can have on our children’s mental and physical health.
As the pandemic continues to stick around, doctors say it is having a negative effect on many children’s lives. Things like school, social life and even family time are continuing to be disrupted.
“All that drives anxiety, all that drives sadness and depression sometimes, and we’re seen increased rates across the country,” said Dr. Edgar Finn, a Child Psychiatrist at Accordia Health.
So how do you know if your child is experiencing stress from the pandemic? Dr. Finn said there are several signs to look out for.
“A child that has been functioning fairly well in school or has been doing moderately well in their environment and start to fail, they start to struggle. They have difficulty with their activities of daily living, things like sleeping and eating.”
If you notice your child’s behavior drastically changing, Dr. Finn said there are a few things that can help bring back balance to their lives. It all starts with two simple things: communication and more activities.
“Helping out with dinner, family game night, even just watching the TV together these days can be really helpful,” said Dr. Finn, “being engaged as much school activity as you can. Being engaged in extra curricular activities and really important being engaged in the home.”
Doctors said being active during the pandemic is not only extremely important for a child’s mental health, but also their physical health.
“You know we’re not getting out as much, we’re on our phones, we’re on our tablets.”
Pediatrician, Dr. Brian Gaven at Accordia Health said he’s seen a spike in the number of children gaining weight.
“I really try to talk to the kids about getting a little exercise in there and of course eating right.”
Accordia Health started a healthy lifestyle program to help those children who may be struggling.
“We go ahead and focus on the big three like I said, you know our sugary drinks, portion size, healthy snacks.”
Both doctors said maintaining a structured routine, activities and communication are the three things that can make a huge difference in preventing those long-term impacts on your children.
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