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Children’s play should be prioritized over formal classroom lectures after lockdowns end, experts say.
UK specialists on child mental health have joined forces and called on the government to give children opportunities to socialize. They asserted that children should be allowed to play with their friends at school without social distancing when it is safe to do so. According to the experts, staying home for a long time may cause children to feel lonely and isolated. They added that it may be difficult for children to distance themselves from their peers when they go back to school.
In their letter to the UK government, the experts suggested some measures that will support children’s mental health as the government starts to loosen coronavirus restrictions. They urged the government to ensure that children will have ample time to play with friends both outside and inside school. The experts also recommended that schools provide the necessary guidance and resources to take care of children’s emotional well-being.
The recommendations were backed by a recent study that revealed the negative effects of isolation on children’s mental health. One negative effect was that children who experienced social isolation were five times more likely to be in need of mental health interventions than those who did not. Experts warned that such negative effects can lead to recurring mental health conditions, lower academic achievement, and economic struggle.
In a statement, the UK government acknowledged the importance of children’s mental health during the pandemic. According to a government representative, they have already issued guidelines for schools and parents on how to help children cope during this difficult time, and the country’s healthcare services will continue to be available for people who need mental health support.