COVID-19 Pandemic Impact on Children

Introduction:

The COVID-19 pandemic has negatively impacted almost every aspect of people’s everyday lives. Mentally and fiscally, these have been trying times for most households. This includes children. Back when the pandemic first started, many schools were forced to close and resume classes via digital platforms. Afterschool programs, clubs, camps and sports were put on pause as well. These things paired with the orders to stay inside and only see immediate family members has left many children feeling isolated and spending a majority of their days sedentary. These sedentary tendencies brought on by the pandemic has negatively affected a child of any age in more ways than one.  

Physical Health:

Regular exercise and movement is essential for a child’s physical health. The pandemic has made this more difficult and many parents might find their child spending a substantial amount of time sitting in front of a computer or television screen. Science Daily reported that the pandemic has caused an increase in childhood obesity due to lack of movement, diet and changes in sleep patterns. Since the pandemic, physical activity rates among children have dropped by approximately 2 hours per week. 

There is research to show that children’s weight tends to rise during summer break which triggered the question of whether the stay-at-home orders and closed schools would have a similar effect on children’s health. The answer was yes. Schools provide structure in physical activity, meals and sleep patterns that relate to overall improved child’s health. 

The negative effects of children’s physical health have been seen throughout the United States and the world. A Phoenix, Arizona pediatrician spoke with STEM Sports® about this issue and how to combat it during a brief interview. 

Dr. Jerry Golner said, “Limited physical activity with other participants is not allowing children to improve physical skills and strength as they were previously able to. Parents can help control video time, also known as the couch potato effect, and encourage some form of movement. This can be anything similar to Wii for indoor solo physical activity.”

Finding fun and innovative ways to get your child active despite these difficult circumstances is essential not only to their physical health and well being but also to their mental health. 

Mental Health:

Mental health is equally important as physical health. The isolation and sedentary nature of the COVID-19 pandemic and shutdowns has caused children and adults to see drops in their mental health. 

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that, starting in April 2020, there has been an increase in pediatric emergency departments (ED) visits and the rise has remained elevated through October. Compared to 2019 numbers, there has been a 24% rise in children 5-11 and a 31% increase in children 12-17.  

Dr. Golner said, “The psychological effects of isolation from school and friends is a major concern affecting all age groups of youth.  Kids need stimulation to avoid the pitfalls of isolation.  Depression is also a major complication of physical isolation.” 

This quote from Dr. Golner emphasizes the need for stimulation. But, how can you stimulate your child from home? This is an issue many parents are facing. Children can avoid both academic and physical slumps by engaging in at-home learning, as well as physical activities and exercise.This can increase stimulation and combat issues of physical and mental health.   

How we can help:

STEM Sports® cares about the mental and physical health and well being of students/children. Our mission is centered around giving quality supplemental STEM education that gets children physically and mentally active through the use of sports. 

During these unprecedented times, we see the unique issues parents and teachers are facing. We offer easy to implement plug and play curricula that can be implemented at-home or via digital learning platforms! Our curricula aligns with Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), Common Core State Standards (CCSS) and National K-12 Physical Education Standards. Not only will this help improve STEM literacy in your child but it will also help combat the mental and physical health issues your child may be going through. 
To request a sample, click here. To purchase a STEM Sports® curriculum, click here.