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A child shall lead them

Four things parents have learned from their kids during Covid

Four things parents have learned from their kids during Covid

Because there is no modern age precedent to Covid, there’s no way to know how the dramatic lifestyle changes affect children. But now, ten months in, parents are starting to notice things, and fortunately some are positive. Writing for the New York Times, Christina Caron interviewed parents whose kids found pleasure in simplicity, expressed gratitude, bounced back from trauma, and in some cases thrived. She found parents who now better understand how their children learn, and in some cases, do not learn. In some cases clarity, in some, hope.

Speaking for myself, I would have thought my son would’ve been much more gutted at being deprived of his college commencement. This is not to say he was OK. He wasn’t. Receiving his degree by mail was bittersweet. But it turned out he’d made really good friends at college, and had nurtured friendships here in the Hudson Valley, and all these kids really showed up for each other, and gave each other invaluable support, either socially-distanced, or via FaceTime. That has continued. Covid, I think, has strengthened these bonds. This is something they will talk about for years. As Christina Caron says in her article, small gestures can lift each other up.

Caron also points out: kids appreciate honesty. Her conversation with mom and child care proprietor Anna Thompson resonated with me. Thompson had her first panic attack, which, she says, exposed her “inner mess.”

When the panic attack happened, Thompson spoke openly with her children about it, and noticed that, “becoming more honest about her feelings helped normalize those kinds of emotions for her kids.”

READ MORE: 2020 was an opportunity for me to connect with my kids

I can only add that my son has seen me cry more in the last year than in the previous twenty-one. Not necessarily because I’m crying more (although I am), but also because he’s around more. And it hasn’t freaked him out. On the contrary, I think he’s been glad to feel useful in helping his parents get through this, which he has.

Caron discovered there’s no one-size-fits-all solution to how children learn, meaning some kids absolutely cannot distance learn, and now their parents – like millions of others – will have a renewed appreciation going forward for brick-and-mortar schools, and teachers. Conversely, some kids have done better remotely. As a guitar teacher, I have seen this as well.

Caron says, never underestimate a child’s imagination. She mentions Karen Pomerantz and her husband, who “always felt pressured to rush their kids off to enriching and fun places and activities, like children’s museums and soccer, dance and exercise classes.” Without the option to overschedule, their kids were able to entertain themselves with found objects in the house, books, puzzles, and the like.

The phrase “silver lining” is never mentioned. But many parents have admitted some positivity has come from their pandemic family life. If not positivity, then renewed appreciation for what they had, and, for some, what they look forward to having again. All of them now know better the resilience of children, and of themselves.

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