9-year-old Ayden on Tuesday, June 27, 2017 during summer camp in Tennessee.

Children like 9-year-old Ayden, pictured here, are missing out on end-of-year school activities due to COVID-19. When surveyed, 70% of kids said they are upset about not being able to say goodbye to friends.

Bored, Scared and Confused: A New Poll Shows How COVID-19 Is Affecting Children's Mental Health, but the News Isn't All Bad

Wide-scale learning loss could be among the biggest impacts coronavirus has on kids in America. With 94% of school closed, students across the nation are working hard to find ways to adjust. But it’s not always easy. 

A new survey by Save the Children reveals that kids are struggling with feelings of anxiety and fear related to missing out on school activities, missing their friends and falling behind in class. “This is an unprecedented time for the country and the world,” said Janti Soeripto, President and CEO of Save the Children, “and it is critical we listen to children and support them during this crisis. We are particularly concerned about the most vulnerable children who may not have access to enough food at home, don’t have the means to take advantage of online learning, and who are having to spend more time in abusive home environments.”

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Concerns over catching coronavirus
Of the 1,500 households polled, 52% of children said they feel bored at home. Nearly half (49%) expressed feelings of worry over a parent or loved one catching COVID-19. While one in three kids reported being scared (34%), being anxious (27%), confused (24%), stressed (23%) and/or unhappy (22%).

Naturally, as parents watch their children deal with feelings of fear and sadness, their own mental health is being tested. The overwhelming majority (76%) of parents noted being somewhat or extremely worried about their child’s emotional and mental wellbeing as it relates to the coronavirus pandemic.

Parents are facing tough decisions
Concerns related to finances and employment topped the list of parents’ worries as well. A majority of parents (71%) citied money as a top concern, followed by not being able to see older relatives (68%). As a result of the pandemic, 51% of parents revealed they have had to make changes to their household budget in order to pay for food and other essential items. And as the nation’s unemployment rate continues to rise, 26% of parents reported having lost wages or taken a pay cut.

Two nine-year old boys stand with their arms around one another’s shoulders as they smile near an outdoor play area in Tennessee.]


Time spent with family is a sliver lining
Despite growing concerns and an uncertain future, the survey, much like the nation’s rally around essential workers and those on the front lines of COVID-19, offered a bright light of hope and positivity. When asked about the opportunity to spend more time with family, 72% of children showed feelings of excitement. And many parents (61%) said they are looking forward to taking on a bigger role in their child’s schoolwork.

Trusted resources from childhood experts
As the world’s leading expert on childhood, Save the Children is working around the clock to help children in the U.S. and around the world stay healthy, safe and protected. Together with early education experts and child psychologists, we’re providing tools and tips you can trust for parents, caregivers, teachers and all those who care about children in crisis.

Coronavirus is affecting us all—it’s the biggest health crisis of our lifetime. The pandemic has the potential to impact every corner of the globe, from rural America to north west Syria. We must act together to protect children—and the future we all share. 

For more facts about coronavirus, including how Save the Children's teams are doing everything we can to build plans to keep children protected and healthy, visit our Coronavirus Response page. 


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