Normal times are no more. We have to realize that lockdown will not finish corona virus as some may assume. Lockdown will flatten the curve of the virus. It will help our doctors fight with the virus at a slower pace.
To adapt to the new world we have to usher in a new lifestyle. In India, lockdown started on March 24, 2020. It has been more than a month of lockdown and we are witnessing revolutionary changes in the society. We are beginning to understand the concept of social distancing. This is tough for us to appreciate as we love to gather around for every occasion. Social distancing is unheard of amongst all sections of the Indian society. Be it marriages or deaths in family, a gathering of at least 500 people is the norm. But these norms changed overnight. Some other daily practices that got included in every household included washing hands after every activity, sanitizing articles and wearing a mask in public. And with these changes came behavioral changes. Just as we have accepted Covid-19 as a reality we have to accept behavioral and social changes that this virus will bring about.
It's easier for adults to accept change in life. Children though accept changes slowly, adapt to them faster than the adults. The lockdown was not easy for children to understand. How can being locked inside your house be good for you? Isn't that supposed to be a punishment?
Luckily for our school going kids, lockdown happened just when the session ended. Initial days of the lockdown were spent as extended holidays after the annual exams. And soon the schools quickly adapted to the changed world and started online school for the children. Although parents and kids alike are struggling with understanding online classes, these efforts from the schools are laudable. The online classes keep the kids busy and focused. Teachers are the best mentors. And school teachers are motivating the children with their positive words of wisdom. They are playing a great role in keeping the morale of the students high.
Covid-19 is an unprecedented crisis and parents, educators, and policy-makers alike are struggling to answer the following questions. What legacy are we leaving behind for our youngsters? Agreed that the lockdown helped the youngsters to appreciate the value of housework as they are helping in the house and working hard to do their bit, but for how long? Once the isolation period has ended will the schools reopen? What about the conditions of hygiene and sanitation? Will we be able to maintain these standards that we have now set in our homes for years to come? As these random thoughts fly through my brain cells touching my nerves with every new thought, I cannot help but recall a story in one of the kiddoes text books. It is a story based in future, where the kids are shown studying at home with their individual robotic teachers. The girl complains to her mom that her geography robot is not functioning well. The boy, meanwhile, finds a book belonging to his great grandfather and both the kids pour over the now-brittle pages of the book, trying to visualize what fun great grandpa must have had studying in school with other children around and with human teachers teaching them. It seems the story will finally come true.
Lockdown will have its psychological impact on children. Some behavioral changes that we can observe in our children include laziness, impatience, fluctuations in emotions etc. Lack of physical activities, lack of routine, irregular sleeping habits can lead to discipline issues amongst the children. Working excessively online or playing online games with their friends can increase aggressive tendencies amongst the children.
Each World War brought along with death and destruction, changes in human behavior. While Covid-19 is not a war it is a war-like situation. And the worst part is that unlike the two world wars, the enemy is hidden and can attack from anywhere.
In any war human mind begins to play tricks. Suspicion, anger, frustrations and depression are behavioral traits that are bound to creep up. Covid-19 is not only attacking us physically it is also a psychological challenge. We need to fight the psychological impact of this dreadful disease.
Behavioral changes in our children have to be observed and dealt with patience. Our actions in these signs of times have to be infused with love, kindness and tolerance. We are not gifting a better world to our children to live in. However, we can and we must give them hope for a better future.