The Main Benefits of Social Play: How to Overcome Childhood Social Anxiety After Lockdown
Thursday, 28 May 2020 | Mummy and Little Me
Those of us with developed social skills will find it easier to get back a semblance of normal, but what about younger children who are still developing these all-important emotional skills?
In this article, we’ll look at how the lockdown has affected child development, we’ll explore the developmental and social benefits of play, and we’ll address how you can help your children overcome social anxiety.
So, if you’re looking for some advice on childhood social interaction in post-lockdown life, let’s get going…
All of these issues could have serious effects on a child’s life. And the longer this lockdown goes on, the harder it is to see how children will deal with them in the long run.
There haven’t been any academic studies on this topic yet, so no one is sure of the effects of long-term social distancing on children’s development. The best we can do is be prepared to provide all the support they may need when lockdown lifts, and try to mitigate the issues as much as we can at home.
Why is social play important for child development?
This is certainly true in group play in school. For example, the social interaction acquired through play on large outdoor equipment teaches children life lessons, social norms, and helps them learn about co-operation, negotiation, and language skills.
Why is social play important for childhood social anxiety?
Some symptoms of social anxiety are:
School Playgrounds are considered safe, fun spaces. They’re built using a range of equipment and create group games to reduce anxiety and give all children a choice. A wider variety of options which caters to both solitary and group play is even better.
This could be true for most, but anxious kids may not react the same way. Being in lockdown has restricted their access to playground equipment, socialising in groups, and the resulting social interaction benefits. Plus, when schools do reopen, be it in June or later in September, there will be additional post-lockdown restrictions in place that could exacerbate their feelings of worry and fear.
Every child in the UK not in school is missing out on valuable development opportunities due to the lockdown, and lifting it won’t solve everything. But there are things you can do at home to help ease the transition and prepare them for any added anxiety.
1. It’s important to keep talking to children to help them manage their expectations of social situations after lockdown.
This advice on maintaining social interaction through social play and managing childhood social anxiety is a great starting point for any concerned parent. Just keep an eye on your children and try to engage them in activities and new things to do. If you notice they’re still struggling with worries and fears in a few months, there is plenty of help available through the NHS.
In the meantime, prepare, look forward to the lockdown lifting, and get ready for schools reopening – your child will be back making new friends, socialising and playing in the great outdoors in no time.