As children head back-to-school, whether in-person or online, health experts worry not only about children contracting COVID-19, but also about their mental health.
Funda Bachini, MD, assistant program director of the University of Arizona College of Medicine – Phoenix Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Fellowship at Phoenix Children’s Hospital, discussed mental health for children who are going back-to-school during the coronavirus pandemic.
Q: Parents are deciding whether to send their children back-to-school in-person. How should they consider the effect their choice might have on their child’s development?
A: Honestly, it depends on your child. Although in the minority, there are some children who thrive in this new environment. If parents are available and have the resources to teach them at their own pace, kids may be learning more than they would have in traditional school. There may also be benefit for some kids with the removal of the social stressors associated with school. Unfortunately, this is not what we usually see. Often, parents are well intentioned and trying their best, but lack the time, patience and experience to teach their kids. Kids are often left to try to navigate the day largely on their own, hampering their academic development. They also miss out on all the social development that occurs at school – learning how to make friends, handle disagreements, prioritize responsibilities, and manage complex social interactions.
Q: Should you talk to your child about the pandemic and what’s going