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Childhood Social Anxiety & The COVID Pandemic — Treatment Plans Based On Childhood Stages

There's no doubt the COVID pandemic changed the world in many ways. Schools and businesses shut down. People socially distanced, stayed home, and wore masks. These tools were done to mitigate the risks of spreading the virus so many people adhered to the guidelines, even if grudgingly so. Big changes like this affected many people, especially children with social anxiety. Here are ways the COVID pandemic affected children's social skills at various ages and the types of treatments that may help. 

Early Childhood

Imagine being a toddler or a preschooler during the COVID pandemic. You rarely went anywhere but, when you did, most everyone wore masks. After restrictions were lifted and masks stopped being worn, young children who haven't been exposed to very many maskless people during their lives may struggle when put into social situations. It takes stranger anxiety to a higher level because they may be used to everyone wearing masks when they're not at home. 

While these young children may not yet be diagnosed with a social disorder or even have a social disorder, they missed out on crucial social development steps and may need help developing social skills. If this describes your young child, he or she may benefit from therapy. A treatment plan for children of these ages would entail group therapy in the form of a guided playdate with other children and their adults to help them develop social-emotional skills they missed out on. 

Middle Childhood

Some school-aged children with social anxiety may have welcomed being told to social distance. However, studies have found evidence that social withdrawal in childhood can lead to depression in young adulthood and hinder academic success, which can make it quite difficult to take on adulthood and have a successful career later in life. So, it's important for these children to undergo a treatment plan and stick with it. 

Unfortunately, many children with social anxiety go undiagnosed until well into their adolescence, if even then. The earlier a diagnosis is made, the sooner treatment can begin, the more likely the child will develop social-emotional skills that will help them throughout their life.

Treatment for primary school-aged children involves cognitive-behavioral therapy to teach them coping skills to help them overcome their anxious thoughts and behaviors. A treatment plan can also consist of one-on-one therapy and group therapy. Group therapy is ideal to help them overcome their anxiety of being in social situations because it essentially allows them to practice interacting with others while under the guidance of their therapist. 


Adolescents, particularly older teens, have more challenges when it comes to social-emotional deficiencies than younger children. They're expected to successfully graduate from high school and begin the next stage of their life: adulthood. The stage of adolescence begins with puberty and ends when the person takes on an adult identity and behaves as an adult, which is roughly the age of 19 but may be older, depending on the individual. This natural progression slowed down for some during the pandemic.

Now think of how difficult it would be for someone with social anxiety in late adolescence to be able to do adult things and take on an adult identity, such as being interviewed for a job or going to college. Therefore, a treatment plan for the older adolescents can focus more on role-playing to help them develop coping mechanisms and practice being in those situations that are part of being an adult. Also, sometimes medication is prescribed to help alleviate anxiety symptoms so therapy sessions can be more effective, particularly for those who have physical symptoms of anxiety, such as heart palpitations and excessive sweating.  

To learn more about treating childhood social disorders, contact a resource like NeuroPower Solutions.

About Me

refreshing your knowledge to help kids with homework

When I was in high school 20 years ago, I didn't take the learning process seriously. I did what was necessary to pass one grade to the next and graduate. Soon after graduating, I got married and started my family. After struggling for years to help my kids with homework that should have been easy for me to do, I decided to go back to school to take some refresher courses and learn what I should have learned the first time around. My blog will show you different resources that you can use to help you assist your kids with homework that is beyond your knowledge level.