According to a study done by Lawrence Kleinman, a professor and vice chair of the Department of Pediatrics at RWJMS and a professor of global public health at the Rutgers School of Public Health and lead investigator for the Collaborative Study of COVID-19 in Pediatrics (CiSP), some of the long term side effects on COVID 19 on children were:

  • Pain
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Sleep problems

Kleinman and his colleagues are conducting a longitudinal study to understand the long-term health effects of COVID-19 on children. The team will follow 1,000 children in New Jersey who have had confirmed cases of COVID-19 for up to 24 months.

When researching this article, I signed my family up to keep abreast of the study as my children have had COVID a number of times and are experiencing those side effects. Although, I am not sure if it’s from the virus or the isolation period during their pubescent years. 

What I can say is that the “will” was definitely lost during the shutdown for my kids. Getting them back on track took a lot of work, and we are not out of the woods yet. It’s really just one day at a time because the learning loss was so significant we can’t even see what we need to see yet. So we keep plugging away, trying our best, and hoping for the best.

Additional resources are available in towns nationwide to help with tutoring, GED training or afterschool learning opportunities.

How to catch students up after COVID

One of the biggest challenges some parent face is getting their kids to “care” again. Unfortunately, many students lost their “will” to learn after the COVID online experience. Personally, I know scores of kids that failed miserably, not just online during the shutdown but, then again, that first year returning to in-person learning in 2021.

Word was going around in the 2021-22 year that many students would be given a “free pass,” so to speak. That schools were not going to “care” about grades but their mental health status instead (which is GREAT). However, some kids got a hold of that rumor, and it backfired.

Naturally, many kids did absolutely nothing because there were zero consequences. I mean, I do not blame them; they are kids. It was hard as a parent to watch my boys go from A-B students to nearly failing all of their classes. I can tell you that did a number on my children’s self-esteem for sure.

But something has to be done to catch them up!

For example, we have our kids in therapy to help them find their “why.” Why do they want to succeed? Why should they care? Once they can identify that, it becomes easier to help them find the “how.”

According to an article in Forbes, “Research has shown that people high in hope take more actions towards their goals and persist longer in the face of difficulties than those low in hope.

One solution is to focus on the “will” and not the “skill.” In other words, we need to reframe how we see education. We must look at the big picture of what kids need to succeed in school and life. A lot of this has to do with mindset. We need to give them the tools they need to succeed.

When we focus on the “will, ” we focus on the student’s internal motivation. This includes things like grit, determination, and a positive mindset. And this is exactly the main issue with my kids; lack of will. Somewhere along the line, they lost the “will” to do well or even care about school. We need to help them find that again.

Back to the medical questions regarding how covid has affected our children…

How does COVID-19 affect children?

According to the Mayo Clinic, “Most children who become infected with the COVID-19 virus have only a mild illness. But in children who go on to develop MIS-C, some organs and tissues — such as the heart, lungs, blood vessels, kidneys, digestive system, brain, skin, or eyes — become severely inflamed,”.

Learning this new information prompts me to make a visit to the pediatrician; however, they did go on to say that MIS-C is rare, and most children who have it eventually get better with medical care. But some kids rapidly get worse, to the point where their lives are at risk. Some of the symptoms they suggest looking for are:

  • Fever that lasts 24 hours or longer
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Pain in the stomach
  • Skin rash
  • Feeling unusually tired
  • Fast heartbeat
  • Rapid breathing
  • Red eyes
  • Redness or swelling of the lips and tongue
  • Redness or swelling of the hands or feet
  • Headache, dizziness, or lightheadedness
  • Enlarged lymph nodes

Emergency warning signs of MIS-C

  • Severe stomach pain
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Pale, gray, or blue-colored skin, lips, or nail beds — depending on skin tone
  • New confusion
  • Inability to wake up or stay awake

What are the side effects of online learning?

During that time of online learning in the 2020-21 school year, so many kids (including mine) fell behind because they did not know how to be self-disciplined in their studies. And even though I was working from home, I couldn’t micro-manage my sons every minute of the day. It was a lose-lose for everyone.

The other big issue with online learning is the social aspect. Kids need social interaction. They need to be around other kids their age and learn how to function in a group setting and work together. Unfortunately, those opportunities were lost in the online learning setting.

Some of the side effects of online learning are:

  1. Loneliness and isolation
  2. Lack of motivation
  3. Increased screen time
  4. Poor sleep habits
  5. Less physical activity
  6. Unhealthy eating habits
  7. Poor grades due to lack of self-discipline
  8. Additional funds for training staff/educators in technology
  9. Prone to technical issues = poor communication in teaching

These are just a few of the side effects. And I can tell you from experience they are all very real. I have seen them firsthand in my own children.

What are some of the Long-term effects of COVID-19 on children?

In conclusion, we are still seeing how the side effects of COVID affect children, whether medically or emotionally; there is still so much to learn. We do not know the long-term effects of this virus yet, but we must continue to be diligent in our efforts to keep them healthy and safe.

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