How Schools Can Help Prevent Loneliness in Kids
In 2020, the United Kingdom's school curriculum will include relationship education designed to combat loneliness. In the United States as well, loneliness has increased among young people, even if they are socially connected to many others.
Psychologist Julianne Holt-Lungstad recommends that the U.S. implement a similar education initiative. Young adults aged 21-30 struggle intensely with loneliness (Fetters, theatlantic.com). Such a school program would "target social isolation" and teach students "the health risks associated with loneliness," according to Holt-Lungstad.
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Through classroom initiatives, teachers can educate students on how to be a good friend. The schools can also implement relational growth outside classrooms, during recess or lunchtime (Fetters).
Developing healthy thought processes can also help decrease loneliness and social anxiety: assuming positive things rather than negative things when a friend doesn't text you back, for example. Holt-Lungstad believes that a carefully and thoughtfully-designed program could help combat young people's loneliness.
Click here to read more on her studies on loneliness, prevention, and education, and practical ways that schools can develop relational programs in the classroom and outside it.
Jenna Phipps is a writer, editor, and dancer based in Nashville, Tennessee. She enjoys working with other people to improve their writing, taking long road trips, experimenting with choreography, and reading many novels.