Does anyone else feel like their kids’ childhood has been paused in a way? Since Covid began, it’s been all consuming and while I understand the severity of the virus, I hate that this time has been so horrible for some kids. I feel like we have been really lucky and I think my kids are still thriving in school, thanks to their amazing teachers. They are 100% virtual, so for their teachers to keep them engaged all year has been miraculous!
That being said, it’s still hard. I have allowed more device time so they can socialize with friends, and those of you who know me, know I hate devices as a form of socializing. They have truly appreciated it though and I feel like without that social outlet, they would’ve probably developed some resentment towards me for choosing their virtual school option with no virtual social option. Having friends is an important part of a kids life, anyone’s life really. While I’ve tried to take advantage of every opportunity for social interaction for them that I could, I know they are still missing out on some things.
Birthday parties and holiday gatherings have been the hardest, but I feel like it’s harder for me than it has been for them. I have worked REALLY hard to make those occasions special and I think it’s worked, but I constantly worry what kinds of long term effects all this social distancing is having on my little people.
How is seeing every face with a mask on it every time they are in public changing their developing brain? Even babies have a physiological response when they see a smile, but they aren’t seeing those right now. What will that do over time to the way they see other humans? This is not to argue the validity of masks, although I will say that masks on kids are not very effective because I promise you, they aren’t wearing them correctly and the ones who are, are still touching them 900 times a day. It is to say, however, that there will inevitably be some lasting effects from this on our kids.
I also feel bad for older kids, who are missing major events in their lives; graduation, prom, and senior trips. I know everyone has made the comparison of ‘oh poor you, no graduation, at least you weren’t drafted into a war zone‘. While that’s obviously worse, everything is relative. Downgrading something that is really upsetting to someone because something worse happened to someone else is so insulting. That’s like telling a person they shouldn’t be happy about a good thing that happened because it could’ve been better. See how dumb that sounds? That’s how you sound telling people it could be worse. You are still allowed to be upset, even if it could’ve been worse!
Little kids all the way up through teens and young adults are being expected to cope with drastic changes and not even be upset about it. That’s a little harder than we are giving them credit for.
There have been some major positives with all this for us though. My kids time management abilities has really grown. They now set their own alarms for morning, early so they have free time, get up and get ready independently. It use to be somewhat hectic during the mornings, waking everyone up, getting all dressed and ready and rushing out the door. Now they are both officially morning people! Their ability to keep up with their zoom schedules and assignments really impresses me. Sometimes Fiona is a little too independent and refuses to ask for help, so stubborn, no idea where she gets that… Mysterious. Grayson likes to get sidetracked but he regularly gets compliments about what a nice kid he is and that makes me happier than his good grades. Yes, those make me happy too, but manners go a long way with me! I think the comfort of being in zoom classes has made it easier for both of them to participate and be more themselves and I love that.
Just don’t lose sight of the mental aspect. There is so much more to health than basic needs being met and as long as we can remember to nourish mind, body, and soul, we will still be able to raise truly healthy kids. Have you hugged your kid today? Hug your spouse too, they probably need it as well and hopefully even if they don’t need it, you just like them enough to want to hug them. Did you know that hugging someone can lead to a release of serotonin, the feel good hormone? This is funny coming from me, as I am so not a hugger, but I do love a hug from my family and people I care a lot about.
Try to approach people with a bit of understanding. Everyone is experiencing this very differently and trying to be understanding of that might make it easier stop bickering with each other and get through this stronger and together, not weaker and completely divided.