Bored, scared, confused – children share their thoughts on how COVID is impacting them
A new survey, conducted by Save the Children in the United States, has revealed that children are struggling with feelings of fear and anxiety as their normal routines are disrupted, missing their friends, and, for older children, falling behind on their school work.
While the findings do not take into consideration the experiences of Australian children, it is likely that, given the similarities between the two countries, the findings will also have merit in the Australian context.
Although the findings found that there has been some negative impact to children’s mental health, the news is not all bad, with nearly three quarters of the children surveyed revealing their happiness about being able to spend more time with their families.
Janti Soeripto, President and CEO of Save the Children, said that the pandemic is an unprecedented time in history, and as such, “it is critical we listen to children and support them during this crisis”.
“We are particularly concerned about the most vulnerable children who may not have access to enough food at home, don’t have the means to take advantage of online learning, and who are having to spend more time in abusive home environments,” Ms Soeripto added.
Of the 1,500 households polled, 52 per cent of children reported being bored at home. Nearly half of the children (49 per cent) expressed concern about a parent or loved one catching COVID-19. Other common feelings reported by the children were fear (34 per cent), anxiety (27 per cent), confusion (24 per cent), stress (23 per cent) and unhappiness (22 per cent).
Parents, too, are being impacted as they watch their children struggle with feelings of fear and sadness, testing their own mental health. More than three quarters of parents surveyed (76 per cent) noted being “somewhat” or “extremely” worried about their child’s emotional and mental wellbeing in relation to the pandemic.
As well as concerns for their children, parents were worried about finances and employment, with 71 per cent of parents saying money was their top concern at this time, followed by not being able to see their own parents and older relatives (68 per cent).
Since the pandemic began, around half of all parents surveyed (51 per cent) said that they have made changes to their household budget in order to pay for food and other essentials, with 26 per cent experiencing job loss or wage cuts.
The silver lining in the results was that 72 per cent of children were happy the pandemic had led to more time with their family, and 61 per cent of parents welcomed the opportunity to play a more hands-on role in their child’s education.
For more facts about coronavirus, including how Save the Children’s teams are building plans to keep children protected and healthy, visit their Coronavirus Response page.