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How the pandemic changed children and their physical health

Posted at 1:46 PM, Jun 06, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-06 21:41:29-04

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — Many kids are getting back to playing sports after the pandemic. However, not everyone is eager to get back out there.

13 Action News spoke with one local expert who says if your child's not active, it could be more than their physical health at risk.


"It's really fun," said 14-year-old Tori.

She loves competitive dance. She's been doing it most of her life, but admits some days are tough.

"Like competing," Tori said. "I guess the stress is a lot."

Her mom, Gina, says competitions and some dance moves have proven to be challenging. Nevertheless, she's watched her daughter mature through the years.

"There's a lot of varying personalities," Gina said. "So she's had to learn from a very young age how to deal with her friends and people who maybe are not. It's collaboration and cooperation and compromise."

Some parents and children may be worried about getting back on the court or field since the pandemic.

Sports psychotherapist, Lauren McGauley, says as a result, many kids have suffered from a loss of connection or sense of community.


"What I noticed was a lot more depressive or anxious symptoms show up," McGauley said. "We've taken away their sense of purpose, you know, something to work towards."

She says families should sit down and discuss their concerns.

"Fears are valid, but let's get to the bottom of what are we actually afraid of. Are we afraid you're going to get sick?" McGauley said. "Going into the safeties for your family of what you feel is best and taking those precautions."

She says extra curricular activities are key to a child's health on multiple levels. Along with the physical gains, it also reduces stress.

"What research has shown is, it produces happy hormones," McGauley said.

Children also benefit from a boost in self-esteem.


"I'm putting all my energy into something and to see it come into fruition, that is fulfilling in itself," McGauley said. "When we work towards something and we keep our promises to ourselves, that is what enhances confidence."

There's also the important lesson that it's okay to fail. You're not going to win every game or competition, and that's okay.

"I think if we can take that, it's really going to set you up for success for the rest of your life," McGauley said.

The bottom line, McGauley says our youth can truly thrive from getting back out there.

"I think that people who prioritize their physical well-being, there is a component of emotional and mental health that's involved in that," McGauley said. "We tend to be more present, grounded, balance, cool, calm, collected."

Gina agrees, and encourages parents to let their kids get involved in their favorite physical activity.

"Over time they develop these great personality traits that just help them in school and in life," Gina said.