How has confinement affected the youngest children?

The current situation of the COVID-19 pandemic has surprised young and old alike. It is something they have never experienced before, and therefore they need time to adapt to the new circumstances, with new habits and routines.

On the plus side, children have a great capacity to adapt. Even so, it is almost inevitable that symptoms such as fear and anxiety will appear.

What have been the most common symptoms?

  • Fear and anxiety: in the same way as in adults, it is an emotion that has predominated in children. It is due to the big change in their daily routine that may have generated insecurity, fear and worry. The uncertainty of the moment and not knowing when they will return to normality is also an important factor. Younger children (4 to 6 years old) often have fears related to imaginary stimuli, such as imagining that the coronavirus is in their room at night.
  • Sadness: not being able to relate to their relatives, friends or teachers, who are important reference figures for them, not being able to go out to play, not understanding what is happening and the personal circumstances at home, generate discomfort and sadness.
  • Regressive behaviors: we would be talking about bedwetting, talking in a more childish way, thumb sucking or showing more intense signs of attachment. These are all manifestations of anxiety. Also signs of anxiety are tummy aches, headaches, etc.
  • Sleep problems: insecurities, fears and worries, change of routines or not knowing how to channel energy in the right way can affect sleep. Nightmares or obsessive thoughts appear.
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In general, you should be attentive to small changes, especially if they are more irascible, challenging or disrespectful. It is also very important to pay special attention to those children who are already predisposed to developing fears.