Last week, I had a rather eye opening discussion with a student. In the age to COVID-19, our classes have moved from in-person to virtual. The transition was incredibly smooth and precisely because of this I have been wondering all along how the lack of in-person interaction will impact kids. We see a lot in the news about the impact of COVID-19 on elderly, to our jobs and businesses. What is noticeably absent is the impact this is going to have on our kids.
As a mum, I am well aware of how tedious it can be to spend every minute together while juggling what is slowly becoming the new reality (although, I hope for only a short time!). I also have the unique position of interacting not only with my kids but also with other kids virtually through our programs. Very soon, the virtual interactions start to resemble real ones and our talks sound like those we would have in person.
At Explorer Hop, we have a very open style of teaching and kids warm up quite quickly. I often wonder how they are processing all the sad news which consumes all of us. A young boy this week managed to express his frustration very well. “All they are asking us to do is stay home and watch Netflix. Why is that hard to do?!” He’s right! Almost every child in Canada is now confined to their homes and backyards, and as they find ways to keep themselves busy, there is a growing sense of frustration about how they are paying the price for those who are unwilling to stay inside and break the chain!
None of us have ever seen a time like this before. As hard as parents try to navigate the waters, it’s unknown territory for all of us. So how do we help our kids? Here are some of my tips on how to help kids in this difficult time:
- Allow them to express their frustrations. It sucks to be home 24x7. The reality is that everyone who was looking forward to spending time watching Netflix has now grown tired of it. Our legs want to go on walks and our bodies can only eat so much. It may be tough for us, but think how much harder it is for them! Don’t just acknowledge their frustration and anger - agree with them. Trust me, even they are bored of their video games.
- Give them a project that matters. Whether it is starting their own business, creating their own blog or even learning how to manage money - these are tangible projects that are valuable and which matter. They need something to do that keeps their minds occupied and gives them a sense of purpose.
- Allow them to see the bigger picture. COVID-19 will end. We will move on and our time spent at home will be memories. Children react to the immediate future. It is important to show them that this too will pass.
- Show them how to contribute. Everyone feels powerful when they make a difference and kids are no different. Last week, in our e-Young Entrepreneurs program, 7 kids from around the world got motivated to raise money for the World Health Organisation (WHO) by creating and publishing their own book. It’s fair to say that all their spare time was spent in making a difference to the world. How empowering is that!
- It’s a great time to teach them the value of money. With scarce resources for everything from pasta to toilet paper, this is a great time for your child to learn how you budget and stretch resources to last for the time you need and then some.
Keeping your child productive is hard these days. But with a little imagination, and some help, it’s easy to achieve.
Stay Safe. Stay Healthy.