Bed-wetting and anxiety levels could increase among young children because of the Christchurch schools shake-up, experts say.
Health and education leaders are concerned about the mental health effects on children as schools close, merge or move under the Government's education proposals for Christchurch.
The acting principal of Yaldhurst Model School, which is slated to merge with Gilberthorpe School in Hei Hei, said children were already "upset and stressed out".
Ann-Marie Garden said one pupil had been sleeping in her parents' bed since the announcement was made last week.
She said bed-wetting could increase because of the increased uncertainty.
"It's heartbreaking to see and it will only get worse," Garden said.
Children had been through "two years of uncertainty and stress" and were now faced with losing their school, she said.
"And parents who are tired and have spent the last two years fighting with insurance and EQC [Earthquake Commission] are now having to gear up for a battle they don't want," she said.
Christchurch psychologist Guy Eaden, of PsychSolutions, said the impact of the education shake-up would be "massive".
"Since the earthquakes, schools have been crucial to community recovery and we can't predict how children of different ages will react, but anxiety and more behavioural issues are definite potentials," he said.
The deputy pro-vice-chancellor at Canterbury University's College of Education, Lindsey Conner, said the mental health impacts of the quakes was already being felt, but the Government's announcement would exacerbate problems.
"Things will shift from being a physical uncertainty [since the quakes] to more of a psychological uncertainty with the schools announcement, and parents will have to bear in mind that their anxiety is transferred to children," she said.
Conner said children may find it harder to maintain friendships.
Canterbury District Health Board (CDHB) member Chris Mene said he felt "disappointed and disengaged" with the lack of involvement the health board and community boards had over the plans for schools. Schools would "bear the burden" of the impact on children, he said.
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