New Delhi: Even though vaccination for children has not yet started, as per the sources, some states are already planning to resume the schools. Delhi has resumed physical classes for students from 1 November.

The Sunday Guardian spoke to several clinical psychologists in order to understand what could be the after effects of the long school closure among children. Looking into the factors, Dr Abid Husain, Assistant Professor of Psychology at Jamia Millia Islamia with specialization in Counselling psychology, said, “From 2019 till date, most of the schools have not reopened.  The psychological, physical and mental growth of children, especially between 5-12 years of age, has been affected and they indulged in mobile TV gaming, so the mental and physical growth of children that happens through social interaction have been affected. So, when the schools reopen, they won’t be habituated to wake up early in the morning and go to schools as they have got more comfortable with online classes and since, they are more prone to the gadget/net addiction, so it will be affected. So, parents and school teachers must understand their circumstances and react to it accordingly.”

Here, the role of the parents, teachers and school management are significant, who will understand and observe the activities of school children and treat them as per their behaviour. Dr Owais Akram Farooqui, a senior consultant, neuro clinical psychologist, said, “It will be a challenge for parents, teachers and school management, who must make children understand the Covid precautions. Teachers must adopt new methods and focus on physical and mental health. School management must look into the Covid protocols. Since the vaccination process of children has not started, the guidelines need to be followed by the adults and teachers. The school management must look into the vaccination process of all the teachers and the respective staff in the school.”

Also, he believed that after the school reopens, children will be more relaxed. There are many children who do not have the privilege or some sources of recreational areas like parks, playgrounds nearby. Henceforth, the reopening of schools will give them the opportunities to resume their childhood that was hindered due to Covid.

Dr Husain said that the psychology of the students as it has been believed that some children may show some negative behaviour or aggression towards their peers or other members of the schools. Here, the role of teachers is to understand the psychology of the students and act accordingly. Taking an instance, he explained, “When a child watches some shows or any sort of online video, it creates some sort of impact on their language. In such a state of affairs, parents are unable to keep track of the kind of content their children watch. Since they are addicted to mobile phones, when they don’t get phones or watch any sort of videos, it impacts them psychologically, which is sometimes negative.”

Asked about the way to deal with such negative implications, he suggests, “Parents need to take help of clinical psychologists and counsellors. Not only children but these kinds of behaviour will also be witnessed among teens, adolescents as lack of physical activities have already brought lethargy in their lifestyle.” In such circumstances, the role of teachers, parents, and the school management is utmost as they will watch closely on the behaviour of the children.

However, Dr Farooqui said that children will be less anxious and return to their normalcy following the norms of the new normal. Since the social development of children got static, it is significant to return to normalcy at the earliest. Asked about the time taken by any individual kid to get through such rough times, Dr Husain said, “Since every child will have different aftereffects or symptoms, it depends on the school management system, who in turn will help the kids to cope up with the environmental change. It is a collective effort of clinical psychologists, counsellors, who will help the kid to deal with or return to their normal lifestyle.” He added, “If a child shows any negative symptoms, then with appropriate measures, his behaviour can be corrected within two to three sessions. So, it is absolutely possible that they will be able to overcome and cope up with the negative environment. Parents must help their kids with storytelling, drawing, indoor games, and if needed, they can take the help of counsellors to help out their kids and resume their normal life.”