Confinement affects children’s mental health

Confinement is taking its toll on the health of children, especially the youngest.

Children, like many adults, have been confined for a month and a half, an exceptional situation in response to the COVID-19 pandemic that could last longer, until May, and that is affecting all key areas of early childhood neurodevelopment (up to 7 years old): from movement, to social relationships, play or learning.

The longer the quarantine, the risk that it will end up having an impact on children’s psychological health in the long term, the experts warn. Although there is no scientific evidence of how confinement can affect them, because it is a new situation, there are factors that we know can increase the risk of stress and anxiety.

In this way, post-traumatic stress is a serious psychiatric disorder that needs medicalized intervention but can only be diagnosed four months after exposure to the event in question that caused the impact. Until reaching that diagnosis, if it is reached, what we can suffer is acute stress.

All the experiences we live modify the brain structure, all life, and have repercussions on our mental health in the long term. In this sense, it is important the accompaniment that we make now of the children and also once the confinement ends, to help them digest what has happened.

In the meanwhile, the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that, during confinement, minors do at least one hour a day of physical activity outdoors, something not within the reach of all families.

Editorial Disclaimer: information published during the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic may be updated frequently to reflect the dynamic nature of current understanding.

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