Editor’s Note: Our Spring Issue Explores Kids' Mental Health, Summer Camp Guide and More

Learn how the pandemic is affecting children psychologically, plus shake off a long winter with summer camps, playgrounds and fun features.

Julanne Hohbach
Columbus Parent
Our Spring 2021 issue

After what seemed like the longest winter ever, spring is finally within our grasp. The pandemic taught us about the challenges of entertaining the kids on those long, cold weekends when it was too nasty to play outside, they’d already had too much screen time, and the places you’d usually take them to burn off some energy were either closed or outside your COVID-19 comfort zone.

The extended snow in February was actually welcome for once, as it gave the kids a chance to really do something outdoors, since snow tubing tickets became as hard to procure as floor seats to a Taylor Swift concert.

You’re stir crazy, the kids are, too, and it’s OK to admit it. Look on the bright side: At least there’s more sunshine on the way.

The pandemic has been a learning experience, as well as a test of patience. It has cost more than a half-million Americans their lives, which we must never forget. And it has also had a negative impact on children’s mental health.

Fueled by isolation from friends, the stresses of remote learning, changed routines and missed milestones, the mental toll of the pandemic cannot be ignored. Thankfully, it’s an area that many school systems are aware of and addressing.

Freelance writer Chuck Nelson spoke with Central Ohio mental health professionals, parents and students about the added anxiety children have been facing over the last year. Their concerns are real: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that mental health-related ER visits were up 24 percent for children ages 5-11 and 31 percent for ages 12-17 last year compared with 2019.

Find out what’s driving young people’s concerns, and what parents can do to help, in “Added Anxiety." It also includes advice on how to help children cope with grief.

Elsewhere in the issue, you’ll find the 2021 Columbus Parent Summer Camp Guide. This very popular annual section explores how camp organizers are adapting to the pandemic—including new safety rules and online offerings—and also features 196 program listings in 12 categories to explore if you’re ready to send the kids back this year.

Thanks for reading, and happy spring!

This story is from the Spring 2021 issue of Columbus Parent.