It has been a time of great change in our world. Covid19, CoronaVirus, the pandemic. Whichever term you use to describe it, the outcome remains the same. A pandemic has gripped the world. As adults we read the papers, listen to the news and make our own judgements. But here is a thought for you. What do our children think? Do they get it? Do they understand what they hear? Are they scared of what they hear?
In order to better understand how children perceive the world right now, I put some questions to two children. Lottie, aged 11 and Matt, aged 8 to see what their thoughts were. Here are their answers:
What is a pandemic?
While Matt did not understand what the term pandemic was, Lottie was able to understand that it was a problem that affects a huge amount of people and/or species.
Why are we all told to stay inside our houses?
Both children understood the need for staying at home but expressed it differently. the two different ways were:
- Because we don’t want to spread germs if we have any and don’t know about it.
- We stay indoors as some people don’t show symptoms and they could infect the higher risk people and then it will just keep spreading
This clearly shows that both children understand the importance of staying home and saving lives. Education on this subject is everything and is clearly paying off.
How will staying at home help?
Matt understands that it stops it spreading really quickly. Lottie tells me that we stay home so any spread is limited to households and not the public. These answers tell me that the knowledge of why we stay home is clearly enabling them to understand the bigger picture about infection and potential spread.
What is the best part of staying at a home?
Matt states that he is loving to spend more time with his family while Lottie took a little longer. She states that she is enjoying that she can work at her own pace with her schoolwork.
What is the worst part of staying at home? What do you miss the most?
A two part question with the same answer. For Matt and Lottie the feeling was mutual when answering these questions. Missing friends and family. For two children who spend a lot of time with grandparents and other family members, I know how much this will be bothering them.
What is the first thing you will do when you are allowed out again?
Matt is extremely excited about seeing his friends. Lottie is going to grab the phone and call everyone to tell them they’re free!
What will you do to keep busy while staying at home?
Matt plays Nintendo online with his friends and Lottie plays outside on the trampoline. They seem to be finding things to do!!
So what has this shown us?
This has shown us that no matter what we do as parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, sisters or brothers we cannot shield a child from the world. In todays age of non stop information its impossible, Mobile phones and the internet have seen to that!
What we can do is control that information. Encourage your child to watch a news report with you. Prepare them for it and allow them to ask you questions after. Be prepared that they may be upset and learn to understand why. Children hear “COVID19 deaths” on a news program and may become distressed. Whereas an older child may hear this but be able to realise that there are many survivors too, a younger child may not.
It has shown us that the world is a scary place. It has shown us that we need to teach our children about what is happening but in a way that they can understand.
COVID19 has shown children how fragile life can be.