I have been hearing a lot of complaints from many people I know since lockdown. They have always been sharing how anxious they have felt, how miserable it has been without going out, how they miss their social life. I am a listener in that area.
To share a small introduction about myself here, I love my lone time and 2020 has by far been the best year for me since a long time. The main reason is that I have had so much time to try new things. Being all by myself for the first time in 30+ years, I have enjoyed every bit of my kitchen life.
However, as a mother to a pre-schooler, I had to take time to understand about the lockdown life of kids. It was not easy as I could not understand what was missing in a Threenager’s life.
As a mother who loves her lone time, I thought my daughter wouldn’t mind missing her social life. It was not easy for her, she was more frustrated than me, she had more mood swings than I did in 2020. I really wondered what someone so young needs in this pandemic apart from a safe haven?
A safe haven? That’s just survival! It is a duty of an adult to provide a healthy and safe environment for their kids. It is nothing exceptional. What we are talking about is enjoying their childhood. The actual enjoyment in developing their basic abilities, learning to express their needs and wants and also building relationships.
The Traditional Mother
Many times I follow the traditional mother approach of being the over-caring parent, the over-protective parent and a bit of helicoptering her in almost everything she did even after she turned 3(that sure felt like she became a teenager). Though I felt I was doing everything required to keep her happy, I figured slowly that I could not.
At the end of the day, I am still a mother who says NO to jumping in a muddy puddle. Even if I allowed her to jump a couple of times, I am not definitely her friend to join her in that muddy puddle. I think about cleaning her up, the amount of dirt that might be in that puddle, and that stern look on my face which says, “Kid, Now don’t put that hand in your mouth!”
Imagine having parks closed, schools closed and not visiting friends or family. With many of us sticking to 1 child policy, it is one parent who ends up spending their whole day with the kid.
I have learned to accept mess and let her be. Instead we focus on cleaning up after the mess. All I ever need to do is pause and think back to our times. The fun we had outside for hours with cousins and friends. Remembering my childhood makes me feel awful for my daughter now. So, I have backed off a lot from saying NO to many things.
No, not out of pity, but because it is her time. Her time to do things by herself, learn to stand up for herself. Also, to have the courage to say NO to parents when she is definitely not up for something. Also, to be pleased to say YES when she is interested and happy about something.
Lockdown Life of Kids
I must agree that just like many kids, mine felt lonely many times in the lockdown life. She broke down whenever she talked to her grandparents and saw them at a gathering. It was frustrating her nerves when her parents were busy on call with work or their friends, when she did not have anyone to talk with apart from them.
I remember her telling me once, “Amma, we have toys, but I don’t have anyone to play it with!” That just tore me. We buy thinking they’ll play. Truly what’s the purpose of play? While we are busy teaching them about emotions, as parents, we don’t really know how to deal with some intense emotions. Frustrations of kids being one of the most common one during this lockdown life.
I have complained when she was frustrated, I have personally failed to understand a 3-year-old. While we were busy worrying about our social life flying out of the window, there is someone so little who does not even know where to start about their social life.
It took me a lot of self-learning about children’s mind to understand about her emotions. She broke down many times during the lockdown and coming to think of it now, it all makes sense. We’ve hugged more in 2020 than ever. I have shared with her about how much I love her and also, apologized to her about many of my behaviours in 2020.
Social Life of a Growing Child
It took me a while to understand that children miss their social life too. Humans are social animals. Children are just starting to form their social relationships. They are constantly understanding the world around them and learning to form relationships. They are also on the peak notes of understanding what behaviour is acceptable and what is not.
The need to be accepted in a social group is more in their first 8 years of life. I was thinking about my school and college days. Those days, I never wanted to take a day off, it was mainly because of friends. That’s the way I felt at 16 or even 20. So, it is absolutely common for her to want to meet someone.
I have learned one important lesson during this pandemic about children. These little guys have missed every bit of the social life ever needed during their prime life. From technological gadgets being baby-sitters to becoming parent approved educational gadgets, we have seen it all in 2020.
When schools reopened in UK, many of us were only scared of what the pandemic could do to our children. Personally, to both of us as parents, we were thinking about only one thing. Nothing more than a school atmosphere will make a child happy.
I agree about home-schooling and all. Personally, I am not a great accomplisher of home-schooling methods. Even if I took it up, I would definitely need at least 2 more children for my child to fulfil her social needs.
A 3 Year Old Kid’s Life During Lockdown
Since we moved to a new country just in time before the lockdown, we needed sometime to settle into our new home. By the end of the month, Spring had begun. We took walks within our community. I was not willing to take my daughter even to the supermarket until Autumn. Actually, children were not allowed in supermarkets during the peak of the pandemic. My husband was kind enough to take care of every bit of shopping.
By Summer 2020, we started with small walks outside and started grocery shopping with my daughter. Summer was one of the most interesting period because her father had fixed a cute carrier seat for her in his bicycle. While I was busy baking my way to glory, these two enjoyed their rides to the park. Of course, the play area was closed, the swings were tied up. The gates to the slides were locked. Still, the cycle rides made her feel so much better.
By autumn, we got busy applying for school and getting ready for it. When school reopened, which we never expected, we were so happy at her excitement. Again came the second lockdown right after Christmas holidays, which made her feel pretty crazy. Sometimes it gets boring at home staring at each other even though we were learning a lot!
Then came winter. By the peak of winter, came the second lockdown. Even during freezing cold she only asked me why she could not go to school. This also knocked me and I really felt bad for her for not being able to go to school. She also learned about Corona only during the second lockdown.
Still, that was the time we learned best about their school and how they work. It was an interesting phase since I got the opportunity to sit down and do the activities with her.
Our kids miss their social life too, if they are feeling miserable or frustrated, pause and think about this: How long have they been inside these 4 walls? This might help!