Kids Anxiety and Social Skills – Can Martial Arts Help? Part One

Kids Anxiety and Social Skills - Can Martial Arts Help? Part One

Managing the long-term effects of the pandemic on your child’s mental health – Part One

Key Takeaways

  • Children have missed out on normal developmental opportunities throughout the pandemic.
  • Their social skills are out of practice, and parents may need to provide children with more coaching and explicit instruction than they have had to in the past.
  • Feeling upset by the pandemic is a natural response for children to have. 
  • Two key outcomes of the pandemic to watch for are children who become overly cautious and children who have missed important academic steps. 


The COVID-19 pandemic has been an especially difficult time for children. Much more of their lives have been taken up by the pandemic in comparison to adults and the loss of in-person learning and favorite activities with friends has been devastating. As we look to a world beyond the COVID-19 pandemic, leaving fear and uncertainty behind will prove to be a difficult task for many adults and children alike.

Dr. Lisa Damour – expert adolescent psychologist, best-selling author, regular New York Times contributor and mother of two  explains about how you can support and guide your child as they navigate life beyond the COVID-19 pandemic.

In what ways has the pandemic impacted children’s development?

The universal experience for children in the pandemic has been missing normal developmental opportunities. So much of what helps young people grow and learn comes from enjoying the company of a wide range of caring adults, spending time with a variety of peers and getting to engage in new and interesting experiences. Whatever else children and adolescents have lost in the pandemic, they all lost that. Their lives necessarily became very narrow and close to home. And while that may have kept them safe from COVID-19, it — without question — robbed them of the variety and complexity of life that is a needed and healthy part of development.

How have children’s social skills been affected by the pandemic?

In terms of social skills, kids are out of practice. Part of how they learn how to get along with others is by spending time with people, making friends, and also by being with people they wouldn’t necessarily choose to be around. It’s with practice that children and adults get better at doing all of those things. So we are definitely seeing signs of developmental lag in some children’s social skills. This is to be expected, but it can also be addressed.

The most important thing you can do is to be very explicit with children about how you want them to handle the challenges they run into. For example, if a child grabs a toy from another child, you can say, “Of course you want the toy. But here’s how you handle this: You say ‘when you are done with that can I have a turn?’”. Don’t get frustrated with children for not always knowing the developmentally appropriate ways to interact. We shouldn’t expect that they can figure it out on their own. We may need to provide children with more coaching and explicit instruction than we have had to provide in the past.

When children are tearful about all they’ve missed out on, they are having the right feeling at the right time.

In Part Two, We’ll give tips and strategies to help our kids deal with Social Anxiety and how the right Martial Arts Classes can help.