1. Kids will be more technologically savvy and computer literate
Does your 4-year-old now know how to un-mute himself? Is your budding Mia Hamm completely comfortable with Zoom soccer lessons? While we parents may look on in horror, the fact is that this pandemic will inevitably make our children more computer literate, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
Says pediatric phycologist Dr. Ann-Louise Lockhart, “Due to distance learning and less face-to-face time, younger children have learned how to use devices, apps and programs they didn’t previously have access or exposure to. And since we all have different learning styles, these different methods have hopefully shown them, along with their parents and teachers, how they learn best.” In other words, since the start of the pandemic, many kids have naturally adapted to new (virtual) ways to learn and socialize. And rather than seeing this as a crutch or impediment to “real” learning, we’re better off considering it as one more tool in their educational toolbox.
Even self-described screen-time critics are scaling it back, calling on parents to simply to be more mindful of what kids are doing online, rather than limiting hours or devices altogether.
2. They will be more anxious and wary of social interaction
It’s no surprise that half a year of teaching our children to stay away from other people has made them more scared of other people. And doctors say this is translating to actual, diagnosable anxiety. Dr. Mary Ellen Renna, a pediatrician in Jericho, NY, has noticed “a rapid increase in anxiety disorders in children,” and notes that “the sudden changes of not being able to go to school or go out and see friends has an impact on us all, but especially the children who are too young to have an understanding of what is happening.”
Dr. Sara Kopple, a pediatrician in New Rochelle, NY, agrees: “Teaching kids that intimacy with your peers is bad and pathologizing it will be hard to undo,” she says, noting that she’s seen this anxiety manifest physically: “There’s been a real increase in bladder and bowel issues in my practice. I think it’s because it’s one of the few areas where small kids have complete control.”
What can parents do? Open communication, mindfulness, and generally reminding our kids that it’s our job to keep them safe. But, to some extent, the anxiety of 2020 is unavoidable. “Now that we’re asking so many schools and districts to open back up, there will be a lot of push-back, anxiety, and fear,” Dr. Lockhart maintains.
3. But they may have more meaningful relationships with family and friends
Yes, we’re all spending a lot of time together. And while this is beyond frustrating for parents, for many children, it’s actually a terrific time to bond and develop a sense of security, which can translate to increased self-esteem and happiness down the road. Says Dr. Lockhart: “I have personally experienced a closeness with my children I wouldn’t have when they were at school all day. I have seen my kids through a different lens, and I really like it.”
This may also mean increased closeness with extended family. (Weekly FaceTime with Great Grandma? Check!) Or stronger relationships with neighbors, cousins or pod-mates. Dr. Kopple, in fact, predicts a rise in mixed-age socialization, as children engage in outdoor play with neighborhood kids, as opposed to formal playdates. “That sort of relationship development is really sweet and valuable,” she says. “Big kids get a chance to practice being responsible and being in charge. Little kids do a lot of modeling from the big kids.”
4. Obesity and overeating might become larger problems
The Covid 15 is real people, and it’s serious when it comes to children’s health. Dr. Renna has noticed “many children who were very active pre-Covid, [and have now] become complacent with exercise…They lose the incentive to move and stay healthy.” And the science backs this up: According to a study out of the University of Buffalo, lockdowns across the world have negatively impacted diet, sleep and physical activity among kids. Dr. Renna elaborates: “Children who are at home on a continual basis start to eat out of boredom, which can become a dangerous habit that is hard to break and may be carried into adulthood with devastating consequences.”
5. On the flip side, kids (and schools) may get more comfortable with being outside all year
Ever heard the expression “There is no bad weather, only bad clothing?” Consider that your motto for 2020, as children and adults, find increasingly creative ways to be outdoors for exercise, socialization, and all-around mental health. Says Dr. Kopple: “Kids are fine, they do recess in the middle of the winter. It’s the parents who have trouble with it.” And as many schools embrace outdoor models, this may have a lasting impact on a generation, who will adopt not only a hardier outlook than their wussy parents (raises hand), but could see benefits like increased competence, lower stress, and improved retention, according to a German study.
6. They will become more flexible and adaptable
With our understanding of the virus changing daily, it can be nearly impossible to plan for life. (Just ask anyone trying to figure out their kids’ school year right now.) But the plus side is that all this uncertainty is probably making children more flexible and less beholden to the schedules, expectations and rigidity we foist upon them.
“Children are learning that life isn’t always easy, predictable or neatly planned,” says Dr. Lockhart. “As a result of this pandemic, I believe they will learn that it is OK to make plans and have goals but having flexibility and being adaptable are equally important. They will learn that it is OK to feel disappointment and then make small or very large changes as a result.”
Now let’s hope we can say the same thing of all the grownups in the room.
I stood so tall back in those days
Free to explore the world before me
Often it felt like I was ruler of it all
But something happened back then, I sank so very small
Nothing could of changed my outlook, for I still believed
That people had the power to change inside and that included me
There I was in this big person’s world
Brought under attack from someone I held dear
No way to defend myself, but my inner power remained
I just wished that could of jumped out and helped
In a span of years, things shifted from being ruler to a slave
Things eventually got more complicated and packed with dreaded pain.
Growing up was a tedious journey.
Looking around, I saw, there was still me
Always sorting through the remnants of what used to be.
Change, by MwsR
When the time comes that you reflect over your life and things you’ve done
Will you see someone smart or someone dumb?
Those things you thought were fun,
The things that you swore hurt no one.
Were they worth it?
Were they proper or were they like that of a nitwit?
Are the ones that stood with you now standing apart?
You already know the answer because it is deep in your heart.
Time can’t erase certain deeds, certain paths you chose, the things left undone,
You can’t blame that on anyone.
Certain people let you down, you say
I’m certain they would not see it that way!
No one controls your spontaneous combustion,
It is certainly your life, not theirs that needs constant adjustment.
Go ahead smell all those “roses”,
Hang around all those that constantly poses,
But when that gets old or you find some other venue
Maybe you will see what you’ve put those that love you through.
It’s hard to be happy when you’re playing catch up all the time
Trust me, I’ve seen that with friends of mine.
Think before you act
Always leave things intact.
Don’t refuse to pay back anyone who’s lent you a hand
Take the praise and the reprimand.
Swallow your pride,
Keep your mouth closed from the inside.
Listen to reason,
Be willing to change the wrong things just like the months change the season.
“And you will be a man, my son.” (If, by Rudyard Kipling”)
It’s Yours… By MWSR
What would it take to heal the sick and “cure” heartache?
What would you yourself give if a peaceful life you could live?
What chains would you break so your destiny you could make?
What twist would you spin to save the life of a dear friend?
Life is about changing…messing up and rearranging.
You can choose to go down fighting or loose all your enlightening.
The power’s within you.
Go make your path that’s out there underneath the sky of blue.
Sometimes in life….
We encounter a rude , smart mouth, bully.
We can choose to reciprocate or we can choose to remain calm.
Don’t let someone else change you! Don’t let that kind of behavior change who you should be.
The saddest thing a person could do is let it change them into who they themselves despise.
Extreme By MwsR
Everything is necessary
When nothing isn’t a choice.
Don’t ever stop listening to that “inside voice”.
Possibilities are just chances we have not taken
They keep up rising
Instead of staying broken.
When you have just a little faith
A little hope in your soul
That is when you can just take off and go.
Everything has a season
A season to change and correct
An opportunity, have you taken yours yet?
Trying is hard when you see no end
But let me tell you, it will no doubt come , my friend.
It is difficult sometimes , more than we feel we can stand.
Trust in a process
Things don’t change overnight
That is why we search for more than our own might.
We need to examine how life has went so wrong
We need to carry in our hearts hope, faith, and love.
These are blessings and give us each, just enough.
Extreme is not necessary when you really try
In taking little steps forward,
You can eventually tell the bad times, goodbye.
Extreme may simply be
You believing in something greater
Something greater, than you or me.
Something you cannot see but can feel
The overwhelming desire or passion
That surrounds your heart and soul
The extreme that makes you go.