LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — When it comes to the COVID-19 pandemic, adults have struggled with its impact, from unemployment to business closures to even health, if they or someone they know has gotten sick. While young children may not understand the virus, they can pick up on what’s going on around them.
“Kids in this age group don’t necessarily understand that there’s a nationwide pandemic going on, but they do understand they can’t go to the playground. They don’t get to see their friends the same way. They may not be able to get back to school or back to the daycare centers where they have teachers that love them,” said Dr. Meghan Marsac with Kentucky Children’s Hospital.
This is during a crucial time of social and academic development. That’s why the University of Kentucky is conducting a nationwide study on how the pandemic is affecting kids between the ages of one and five.
“We are asking families to participate,” said Dr. Marsac. “They have the choice to just give us one-time information, so if they just want to go in and tell us how they’re going right now. They have a choice when they sign up for us to send them questionnaires over the next year at several different time points, so that we can see as things kind of shift, does it bring new challenges to families? How do we learn to adapt and what are our needs over time.”
Dr. Marsac says they hope to use the research to learn how to better support kids and families.
“What can we do as pediatricians?” she said. “What can we do in our mental health space? Can we create online materials that we could provide for parents? Could we create other programs that parents could take advantage of?”