Covid pandemic has caused children as old as eight to throw tantrums normally seen in ‘terrible twos’
- Children as old as eight are experiencing the ‘terrible twos’, study has found
- Much older children are exhibiting the temper tantrums, according to research
- Pandemic could also lead children to have mental health problems later in life
Older children have had bad behaviour normally associated with the ‘terrible twos’ during the Covid lockdowns, a study has found.
Bristol University researchers said an unusually high number of children, with some as old as eight, were throwing temper tantrums expected of two-year-olds.
The study, which has followed more than 700 youngsters through the pandemic, said the distress of lockdowns has likely taken a toll on their mental health.
Most children were unable to go to school in person for much of 2020, instead having video lessons online and being home-schooled and they were prevented from spending time with others their own age.
The Bristol researchers said children’s tantrums and emotional distress usually peak when they are two or three and then calm down during primary school years.
But disruption caused by the Covid lockdowns could have upset many and be putting them at risk of mental health problems in the future.
The Covid-19 pandemic has led to the ‘terrible twos’ being experienced by much older children, according to a UK study (stock image)
The researchers studied the emotional development of around 700 children during the crisis and compared it with data taken before the pandemic as part of a study that has been running for 30 years.
Dr Rebecca Pearson, a psychiatric epidemiologist at Bristol who did the study, told The Guardian: ‘Emotional problems usually peak around age two and then decline over childhood.
SCHOOL CLOSURES TRIGGERED MENTAL HEALTH PROBLEMS, REPORT CLAIMS
One in six children are suffering difficulties with mental health as a result of the lockdowns and school closures, a report said in January.
It said teenagers and children were losing their way in the pandemic as parents attempted to help with online learning while doing their own jobs.
The report from Children’s Commissioner Anne Longfield said: ‘A staggering one in six children now have a probable mental health condition… it is highly likely that the level of underlying mental health problems will remain significantly higher as a result of the pandemic.’
The report continued: ‘The major disruption to two years of education, alongside the limited opportunities to see friends and wider families, to play and enjoy activities and the worry about the impact of Covid on their families, will have taken a heavy toll on some children.’
‘Even before this crisis, children’s mental health services were far from meeting the existing level of need. In the year before the pandemic, referrals to children’s mental health services increased by 35 per cent while the number of children accessing…