Childhood is a precious time in anyone’s life. This is the time when we form bonds and make memories. The formative years where we get to explore and continue to develop ourselves. We form skills necessary to move forward in life. We meet people who help and guide, inspire and challenge us. We push boundaries and test our limits. We look back on places and things that made us happy and try to recreate the same for our own children because we found it so pleasant. However, childhood in a time of pandemic is very different from what we initially envisioned our kids childhood would be.
From a very sociable world where every minute is scheduled; going to playdates and various sports and music lessons, the world is suddenly pushed towards isolation. Any group activity, whether formal or informal, is now limited to almost non-existent. There is very limited fun at kids birthday parties, restricted, if any, playground activities, even going to the malls and eating out are frowned upon. There is less time to be with friends and family members that strengthen relationships.
Isolation is never good for a long period of time. Social interaction benefits not just physical but also mental development. Children isolated for long periods can become depressed, withdrawn, fearsome. It can also bring about adverse later life addictive behaviour, poor health, a host of adult illnesses as well as significantly lower IQ.
Everybody is struggling to adjust and modify to a new normal. It is part of our responsibility as adults to provide the necessary skills for our youth to manage their lives. A child needs stability, play and security in their growing years to gain confidence. Being told that they cannot go to places they used to disturb this stable environment. Interaction is crucial. From this children learn to negotiate and improve decision making skills.
As we deal with this pandemic, we devise new ways to bring the same amount of joy and make childhood still pleasant and memorable. Incursion and excursion activities are being modified for Sydney schools and other locations to slowly safely reintegrate it to the children’s’ lives. What joy it would be to meet old friends again, participate in beloved activities, reconnect with teachers and mentors. Enjoy parties and events with classmates in new places or familiar haunts for interactive games or long overdue rematch.
We are in the age of technology where information is easily accessible. There is no reason to live in fear and isolation when we can combat all of that with immediate response and proper safety measures. There is hope that one day a cure will be found for this virus. But right now, let us make sure our children have the childhood they will look back on with happiness.