Thomasville therapist talks COVID-19 impact on children ahead of school starting back

Thomasville therapist talks COVID-19 impact on children ahead of school starting back

THOMASVILLE, Ga. (WALB) - As the school year slowly approaches, some children may feel unsure about how to handle changes with COVID-19.

Kristen LaBella works as a therapist with Georgia Pines in Thomasville.

She said one of the main stressors she sees with children since COVID-19 is the feeling of social isolation.

“A lot of them are being able to text and video call with friends, but a lot of them are really, really struggling with not being able to see their friends in person,” said LaBella.

From what she’s seen with her students, LaBella said these stressors can cause a lack of interest and depressive symptoms.

She said there are a few signs to look out for if you suspect your child may be suffering from these stressors.

Kristen LaBellla, Therapist
Kristen LaBellla, Therapist (Source: WALB)

“Really anything that they’re doing that isn’t part of their usual personality, it’s very abrupt, and anything that seems out of character for them,” LaBella said.

These could also include lack of motivation, sleeping more than normal or physical signs of anxiety.

Some schools are giving children the option to either return to school or continue online.

LaBella said from her experience, students are understanding of COVID-19 and why precautions have to be taken, but many of them aren’t happy about it — especially when they get back in the classroom.

“They understand the need for it, but at the same time, they’re not happy about it or it’s causing anxiety in them. I was talking with a student yesterday and she was like ‘well how is lunch going to work, and how am I going to be able to talk with my friends and play with them and spend time with them,‘” said LaBella.

Ahead of the fall semester, she says educating children and continuing to talk to them about what’s going on is important as we continue to navigate this pandemic.

LaBella said one of the things she does with her students in normalizing what they’re feeling — letting the child know they aren’t the only ones feeling this way.

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