It’s been a year and half since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. The numbers are still increasing around the world, just as the ways our lives have changed are also numerous. We often talk about the changes to our social lives and work routines, but what about the changes in our kids’ lives? What does it look like to grow up during a pandemic? From distance learning to extended lockdowns, what will kids remember when they look back on these days? Yes, it will look different. No, it does not necessarily mean it’s a bad thing. There are still a few tricks parents have up their sleeves to ensure their kids have a full childhood experience. Keep reading to find out more on the changes kids nowadays are facing and how you can help make it a little smoother!
Distance learning is a concept many did not think was here to stay, but is still going strong over a year into the pandemic. It’s the safest option to ensure kids continue their educational development, but it does come with its own set of drawbacks. It seems to be more difficult to hold kids’ attention and to keep them motivated, but who can blame them? It’s quite the shift from physical lectures and playtime during recess to sitting in front of a monitor all day. As parents, what you can do is set them up for success with a space that is dedicated and conducive to learning and creativity. Keep updated with their curriculum, so you can engage them and know when to allot time for physical activities too.
Whether your kid is asking why you’re always wearing a mask or why you can’t eat at his favorite restaurant this weekend, make an effort to carefully explain the situation. It may be tempting at times to pull rank and say “because I said so,” but it would actually help more if they understood the reason they have to wear masks, wash their hands, or stay at home. Breaking the news of the loss of a loved one will definitely be a difficult task, but your honesty can also go a long way in helping understand the realities of the pandemic. Also, don’t forget to always reassure your kids that you are going to get through this together as a family.
Being confined in the walls of our own home is no reason kids should miss out on a fun childhood. Zoos, parks, and beaches are off the table for now, but you can bring the fun indoors with a little creativity. Check the Internet for various ideas on activities you can set-up depending on your child’s age. Trust us, there’s a lot of material available from other parents who are in the same boat! Props and toys you might need are also easily available online and delivered to your doorstep. Just make sure to santize everything before bringing them to playtime!
Kids are definitely wondering why they haven’t seen their grandparents in so long. They’re also asking what happened to the birthday parties with all the games, food carts, and goodie bags. The pandemic has definitely changed how we interact with loved ones, but it does not have to change how much we value these relationships. Make sure to keep in touch and schedule video calls to catch up and exchange stories. Instead of a kiddie party, you can still plan a celebration with friends by sending over matching loot bags and activity sets they can enjoy together virtually. Don’t skip out on the fun! There are still plenty ways to connect and celebrate during these difficult times.
If your kid was training to make the football or basketball varsity one day, there’s no reason he or she should give up the goal. It will take some patience before school gyms reopen their doors, but in the meantime, you can work on mastering that signature move! If you have a bigger family, why not team up and plan a game day? Or if your local community is planning safety protocol-packed sporting events, go ahead and sign them up. The exercise would be a welcome distraction and maybe even stress release.
The last 17 months have been difficult on adults, teens, and children too. While kids don’t necessarily have to worry about keeping a job or feeding the family, the confusion and pressure felt from the drastic change in lifestyle and the lack of social interactions is just as troublesome. As parents, it’s important to stay vigilant, listen when they talk about the challenges they’re experiencing, and show patience and support, even when they don’t ask for it.
- Amber Dance, Kids of the Covid Generation: The Road Ahead, February 2021.
- Amarica Rafanelli, Growing Up in a Pandemic: How Covid is Affecting Children’s Development, January 2021.
- lStephen Patrick, Laura Henkhaus, Joseph Zickafoose, Kim Lovell, Alese Halvorson, Sarah Loch, Mia Letterie and Matthew Davis, Well-being of Parents and Children During the COVID-19 Pandemic: A National Survey, October 2020.
- David Robson, How Covid-19 is changing the world’s children, June 2020.