HEALTH & WELLBEING
CHILDREN'S MENTAL WELLBEING DURING LOCKDOWN
Beverley is one of the members of our customer service team. A walking font of all knowledge she knows everything there is to know about scooters and accessories.
Picture the scene, the family home; a safe space for children to relax, play and forget about fractions and phonics. Now, from literally nowhere, throw into said scene, a global pandemic, parents masquerading as seasoned teachers whilst magically attending work in their PJs via Zoom, no physical access to friends or relatives and perhaps worst of all, repeated squabbling over the Netflix remote. It’s no wonder our children’s mental wellbeing might be a little fragile right now.
Thankfully under the government’s lockdown guidelines, we’re still allowed outside once per day to exercise, thus allowing our children a quick burst of normality. The importance of this exercise to children’s wellbeing cannot be underestimated, and not just for ‘a bit of fresh air’ like my mother would say. Whether it’s a dash around an urban block or a countryside ramble, the chance to see other people (from a distance of course) and the opportunity to connect with nature, whether that’s flowers in bloom, birdsong or a strapping Doberman taking its owner for a walk are things we might have taken for granted before. The ability to see beyond the four walls of home and of course the release of key chemicals like serotine and endorphins can help alleviate issues lockdown might have caused such as depression and social withdrawal. And of course, a bit of fresh air does wonders too – thanks mum.
For me, as someone who’s operated in the mental health space for a number of years, I spoken with multiple sufferers of depression and anxiety, and in most cases, these people have managed their wellbeing (often alongside other techniques) with some form of exercise. Our children don’t have to become future Olympians during this period, but a daily dose of exercise, whether it’s being out on a scooter, a dog walk, a gentle jog or climbing trees, will do wonders for their wellbeing. Some daily structure, knowing there will be a break from the confinement of home will also help them during this uncertain time.
Dr Martha Deiros Collado, is a clinical psychologist specialising in paediatrics. She supports children, young people and their families to overcome difficulties and live out their preferred futures, and she had this to say;
“Exercise can help children feel more confident and secure in their abilities. Physical activity has been shown to help improve mental health, concentration and self-confidence. When children take part in exercise, they are often learning new skills as well as improving physical agility, strength and balance. This helps them develop confidence in their bodies and that often generalises to greater self-worth and confidence”.
Dr Emma Svanberg, is a psychologist, writer, speaker and campaigner who specialises in parenting added:
“It can feel really difficult to encourage exercise in children at the moment, especially if you have conflicting demands of work and childcare, or if you are quarantined, or don’t have easy access to outside space. I’m hearing from lots of parents that their children are increasingly reluctant to leave the house as this new routine starts to sap motivation. But exercising together can bring a lot of joy for both parents and children and is one of the few interventions which has been frequently shown to improve mental health across generations. Finding fun ways to move together can become one task that brings you together through the day.”
Thankfully, we know this situation isn’t going to last forever, but perhaps our children don’t. Maintaining regular exercise will go some way to helping our children (and us adults too) manage until there’s some form of normality restored.
Also, let’s not forget, we’re talking about children here, just having some good old-fashioned carefree fun will do absolute wonders for their happiness.
(Find Dr Martha on Instagram @drmdc_paedaitric_psychologist and on her website DrMDC.co.uk and find Dr Emma Svanberg on Instagram @mumologist)