Written by Osteopath Noemi Panella
2020, as we know, was a difficult year for everyone also for the little ones. All activities during this period were postponed until things improved, but babies’ birth or their growth certainly could not be postponed.
In my opinion babies and children have suffered from the emergency since it was common in my experience to find in post lockdown children some behavior that are often linked to the parents' uneasiness. Children are influenced by adults' emotions, so it is necessary to reassure without hiding the truth and to accept anger and discomfort. With older children it is necessary to explain what can and cannot be done because of the virus with all the difficulties that derive from it and with newborns parents need to be more loving and calmer.
The reduction of social contacts has had an impact on children and young people not only because of the value of friendship, but also because by being with peers - for example, doing sports or other activities after school - children learn to collaborate, to trust them, others, to be empathic, and develop their own personality. Opportunities for socialization are very important during growth, though in different ways and measures depending on age groups, context, family structure (for only children it is more complicated than for children with brothers and sisters) and of personality.
Signs and symptoms of unsettled children During my clinical experience behavioral problems, regression symptoms, irritability, sleep and anxiety disorders were shown by children and newborns during the last period. If the little ones seem to be less vulnerable to the systemic effects of Covid-19, a completely different story is that of the quality of life and emotional balance of children and adolescents, who have suffered from the emergency. Not being able to go to school, not being able to see their teachers and classmates, not being able to run and play in a park with their friends or to breath fresh air and discover the world certainly penalized them. It is necessary to make sure that at the end of an experience that they will remember for a lifetime, they feel stronger and more confident, aware that they can face very difficult situations such as the one they lived.
The childrens’ growth is made up of various steps all different from each other. From when they are babies to when they grow up they have different needs and behaviors. Despite this, it can be said that babies and children who went through this period of segregation at home were greatly influenced by the emotions of their parents and how they experienced the emergency.
Behavioral problems and regression symptoms have arisen in children also form mums’ point of view. Forms of anxiety, such as separation anxiety, the feeling of lack of air, but also sleep disturbances (difficulty falling asleep and waking up to start the lessons electronically at home) were very common.
Regarding the newborns born during the last period the most frequent complaints from families were increased irritability, sleep disturbances and digestive disorders. These babies need more relationship with parents than with peers. It must also be said that it is very important for the newborn to go out regularly because it improves their health and well-being. Playing in the air and in the sun is a natural way to store vitamin D in the body, preventing its deficiency and also a way to strengthen the immune system.