Impact Of Heatwave On Mental Health And Parent-Child Relationship

Impact Of Heatwave On Mental Health And Parent-Child Relationship

Impact Of Heatwave On Mental Health And Parent-Child Relationship

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5 June 2024

A heatwave is known as a period of unusually hot weather that lasts two or more days. The temperatures are above the averages of a given area. They can occur with or without high humidity and have the potential to cover a large area, exposing a high number of people to hazardous heat. They also impact an individual’s mental health, especially in children, leading to stress, worry, sleep disturbances, and depression. Due to extreme temperatures, children can become easily irritable eventually causing an increase in hate speech on social media.

Heatwaves can elevate the stress levels due to discomfort and disrupted routines which can cause mental health conditions. Sleep patterns are unusual leading to insomnia or poor-quality sleep which have a significant impact on children as they are sensitive to changes. In such times, a hike in terms of hate posting can be noticed on social media platforms. Heatwaves can disrupt daily activities and social interactions leading to feelings of isolation and disconnection. In such cases, individuals may turn to social media to vent their frustrations.

Some ways to keep children safe and comfortable during a heatwave –

1.      Keep a close eye on their activities even if they are playing indoors

2.      Monitor for early signs and symptoms of heat illness

3.      Avoid going outdoors, especially during peak afternoon hours

4.      Help them to slowly adjust into exercise or any physical activity

5.      Encourage them to rest and cool off in shade when they begin to feel hot

6.      Remind them to hydrate regularly

Though all people going through a heatwave experience several impacts on well-being, children are more likely to be affected. It takes a toll on both their physical as well as mental health. This gradually leads to an impact on their parents too since the time spent indoors by both parties is a lot higher than under normal conditions. Since outdoor interactions are to a minimum, children will face boredom and find alternative activities to spend their energy on. They will look at electronic devices as sources of entertainment and fun which will simultaneously concern their parents. But since the options are limited, it becomes a never-ending struggle.

Discomforting weather conditions are bound to make the situation worse while handling hyperactive or restless kids. They are forced to be idle either leading to a personality change wherein the things that previously used to excite them, don’t anymore or an increase in hyperactivity which will result in aggressive responses from their parents. This period is a test for both children and parents to maintain calm and handle each other in the best manner possible.

 Significant impacts of heatwave on parent-child relationships-

1.      High temperatures can increase stress for parents as they are too concerned about keeping their children hydrated and cool. This stress may not be conveyed calmly which will affect the overall atmosphere at home.

2.      Especially, during summer vacations, parents may find it difficult to handle their overly active kids and finish household chores at the same time.

3.      During a heatwave, families have no choice but to spend more time indoors which will strengthen their bond through shared activities such as cooking.

4.      This situation may get overwhelming for both parents and children which can cause crankiness, feelings of exhaustion, and irritableness.

5.      Heatwaves can be linked to lower school attendance, which will impact the overall educational performance of the child.

6.      Severe temperatures can also cause mental health and behavioral problems leading to high stress, extreme mood swings, feelings of fatigue, and cognitive impairments.

7.      A family living under one roof for too long will cause boundary and personal space-related issues creating conflicting attitudes towards each other.

This period of isolation can harm self-esteem and limit the sense of expression. It is rather challenging for an only child to remain sane as there is no other person close enough to talk to and hang out with. But on the other hand, constantly having to be with someone also causes burnout. Parents with a constant paycheck can navigate through this time smoothly while others may argue and complain a lot.

Spending time together can be looked at in a positive light too as families get an opportunity to find out more about each other. Parents can get to know their children more by engaging in chats with them and catching up with their life events. They can strengthen their dynamics and bond well. As challenging as it might get to put up with each other, finding common ground is important to resolve issues.

In conclusion, to maintain a balanced environment during a heatwave, parents need to keep a close eye on their activities and monitor for symptoms of heat illness. They need to convey the gravity of the situation in a poised manner to avoid actions of resistance from children. Children need to stay hydrated and trust the process. In this way, sanity can be maintained and good parent-child relationships can be reinforced.