‘I could give hugs and now I can’t’; kids share how the pandemic has impacted their lives

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FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – For over a year health officials, educators, political leaders, and many others have shared input on the COVID-19 pandemic that has impacted the whole world. Arguably the ones impacted the most, children have shared very few thoughts and feelings about the pandemic that has changed life as they know it.

“I could give hugs and now I can’t. I can’t hear people with the masks,” 1st grader Graycin Riecken says.

School, playtime with friends, and even home life has changed for practically every young child.

“It’s kind of harder, because we have to wear masks,” Braelyn Price, 1st grader says. Mia Ponce, 1st grader says, “we used to see smiles.”

“We see the effects in our lives and in our work and in running our families, but we just kind of assume that kids are resilient and that they’re going to just get on with it, which they do, but this has been a really big change in their lives,” Melissa Dessaigne, mom of young children says.

Information about the pandemic has flooded adults lives through various media outlets however, young children have had a hard time comprehending exactly what is going on around them. A pandemic has changed life as they know it. According to psychologists at Park Center, how they respond many times is based on their surroundings.

“Kids have an unclear sometimes, fearful, understanding. They couldn’t tell you scientific facts but they know mom and dad are worried, and kids pick up the family stress,” Ina Carlson, psychologist with Park Center says.

“We had to quarantine for like 10 days, and I was pretty sad and me and my dog were just cuddling and stuff,” Riecken says.

Children have not had all bad experiences throughout the pandemic. Good has come from the additional time at home with family as well.

“Mom has worked from home I like it and I get to see her more,” Ponce says.
“I really like board games more now, and I like reading a lot more,” Micah Dessaigne, 3rd grader says.
Riecken explains, “When the pandemic wasn’t real I didn’t know what a mask was but now I know what a mask is.”

Psychologists say that children will recover, with extra love and attention. Those children who already face emotional and mental challenges might need additional attention, however they will get through it. Park Center has not noticed an influx of patients, what they have noticed is the reason patients are coming in. School work has been the biggest challenge between parents and children this past year.

Carlson says that, “the best thing you can do for your child is to be consistent to be nurturing and to be supportive. Be someone the child can depend on and to be a place where the child can talk.”

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