UK child mental health experts call for prioritized playtime when schools reopen

The impact of the lockdown on children’s psychology has left many child mental health experts concerned about their psychological welfare. For close to six weeks, children in the UK have been locked in their houses, with minimal socialization with their peers.

The mental health experts have called on the UK government and schools to prioritize children’s play and socializing. They urged teachers and government to ensure that all efforts are not going to academic progress and formal lessons.

The UK has already started easing the lockdown measures and the economy is slowly going back to normal. The school reopening dates, however, remains a misery as different countries in the UK take a different approach, with Scotland and Wales indicating schools will not be reopened on June 1st while England has kept speculations going that schools might be reopened on June 1st.

Child mental health expert take on playing time

Helen Dodd, professor of child psychology at the University of Reading highlighted the difficulties these children will face when they finally return back to school. She also noted that social distancing will adversely affect the ability of these students to reconnect with their students and engage in meaningful playtime.

She urged schools to consider allowing students to play without much social distancing while keeping in mind their safety.

The mental health experts also highlighted the effect of loneliness on young students. Looking at data from other pandemics that had the school lockdowns resulting in the isolation of young students, students in isolation were five times more likely to require help from a mental health institution that those who were not on lockdown.

Dr. Jenny Gibson, senior lecturer in psychology and education at the University of Cambridge, emphasized the importance of giving children a free space to play and interact with each other. The mental and emotional benefits of playing with friends for young students will help them cope with their isolation during the lockdown period.


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