What Kids Need During COVID-19
Updated: Oct 21, 2020
A letter to parents with school-aged children during the Coronavirus pandemic
If you have school-aged children who are about to begin a very foreign way of learning, this letter is for you.
As a parent, it may feel like an unwritten rule that you must take on the role of your child's teacher while schools are closed due to COVID-19. You may have high hopes for your child's learn-from-home schedule-- online activities, science experiments, and tons of reading. At Girl Scouts of Southern Arizona, we have always encouraged that children dabble in the great outdoors, S.T.E.M., life skills, and everything in between. However, during this time of fear and uncertainty that is plaguing the entire globe, us adults are not the only ones who are feeling anxious.
We would be naive to think that our children are not phased by the current state of things. They, too, are active on social media, talk to their friends, and can feel the energy of those around them. Most school-aged children have never known or experienced anything of this nature. Some of the younger, more innocent minds may think that their summer began a few months early, and it's the coolest thing that ever could have happened. Older students, however, have realized that special moments-- such as prom and graduation-- that they have waited for not-so-patiently could very possibly never happen .. not how they pictured, anyway.
You can expect that your children's behavior will shift over the coming weeks. They may get angry or worried that they aren't able to do the things that used to be routine. The attitudes, meltdowns, and tantrums will happen, it's just a matter of when. Understand that these behaviors are normal, and should be expected, under the circumstances.
Right now, more than ever, children need to know and feel that they are loved and heard.
Just as we adults are seeking comfort in our family and friends to tell us that everything is going to be okay, we must, in turn, be that sense of comfort for our children. I am here to tell you that the ideal schedule you have spent so much time perfecting and stressing over can be thrown away. You are allowed, and encouraged, to give your children all the love you want, especially during this time.
Sit on the couch and watch movies in your pajamas; go outside and play; bake yummy treats and make a mess; do a science experiment; paint a masterpiece; pull out old board games; read together; or snuggle under warm blankets and do nothing at all. You don't understand how much your children will appreciate your presence.
As much as you fear that they'll fall behind in school, understand that your child is not alone. He or she, along with all their classmates, are taking the same time off. Do not let yourself believe that every parent in the world is doing better than you-- we are all doing the best that we can.
From one human being to another, my advice is this: invest in your children's mental health, first and foremost. Their test scores and semester grades will all mean nothing if their heart and mind aren't in it. Children will not always remember the things we did for them, but they will always remember the way we made them feel. Especially now, during the scariness that is COVID-19, tell and show your children just how much you love them.