Getting Back to Normal – Socialisation for Children after Self-Isolation
The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on our everyday lives. People are forced to stay home and isolate themselves to flatten the curve. Quarantine and social distancing have been fundamental in limiting the spread of the virus. It is now time to start getting back to some semblance of normalcy. Many have begun to get out of their homes, return to the office, and let their children socialise. This is an intimidating time, especially for parents, because they don’t want to put their children’s health at risk.
Impact of Self-Isolation on Children
This situation is unprecedented, and there have been few incidences in history where children have been with their primary caregivers but isolated from the rest of their social circle. Parents and caregivers are the essential support systems of a child’s world, but is that enough?
Universities and research centres all over the world are now studying the impact of social distancing or isolation on young children. While there are few concrete conclusions as of yet, many experts have spoken up about it. Here’s a look at some of the biggest impacts of self-isolation for children:
1. Play Influences Development
There’s a significant body of research that proves peer interaction and playing helps cognitive development. Playing is a complex activity that involves communication, creativity, problem-solving, physical activity, cooperation, and much more. It encourages the child’s brain to build new connections, facilitating long-term development. Children who don’t play or engage in socialisation with a wide range of personalities show slower development.
2. Socialisation Helps Improve Communication
Communication is a difficult task, and even adults can sometimes struggle with it. Children develop essential communication skills while interacting with their peers in a centre or pre-school. These early communication skills help them learn better, understand the people around them, and convey their desires more clearly. Social isolation can hamper a child’s communication skills significantly and lead to learning issues down the line.
3. It Takes a Village to Raise Children
While parents bear the primary responsibility of raising children, it is still a community effort. Aunts, uncles, teachers, older friends and siblings, and other such individuals also contribute significantly to a child’s upbringing. Raising children without this community support can have a big impact on parents’ mental health and stability. Children don’t have a fully-developed prefrontal cortex, which means they are emotional and don’t have the reasoning ability of adults. Most parents can handle this well if they have a robust support system with teachers, aunts, uncles, grandparents, etc. Such a network ensures there are people to help parents deal with a child’s emotional intensity and lack of control. Without this support, parents come under a lot of stress and eventually lose control of the situation. It is common for these overwhelmed adults to take their ire out on children.
4. Children Without Siblings are Particularly Vulnerable
Self-isolation is easier for children with siblings because they still get some playtime and peer engagement. Unfortunately, many modern families have only one child with one or two adults in the house. These children are particularly vulnerable to the adverse effects of social isolation. They need some outside engagement to develop well, which is why sending them to a childcare centre for a few hours every day can make a big difference.
5. Loneliness can Affect Mental Health
Loneliness comes in many forms, and for children, it can mean isolation from like-minded peers and people who are of the same age-group. While caring parents and siblings can help, friends and peers offer something different. Being isolated from them can cause a lot of mental distress.
There are ways to mitigate the ill-effects of self-isolation, especially in this age of sophisticated communications technology. It is easier for people to communicate with their friends and peers through video calls, conferences, and even online community gaming. However, none of these tools are complete replacements for face-to-face interaction, especially for children.
Why Returning to Centre-Based Learning is Good?
Parents are still anxious about letting their children out of their home with the COVID-19 situation still uncertain. A combination of home learning and centre-based activities can help mitigate the effects of long isolation. Here are some reasons why you should consider it:
1. Continued Development
There is only so much learning and development that can happen at home with only parents and a few siblings to support it. The centre has trained educators with experience in the field. They know how to stimulate young minds and will come up with ways to overcome the issues caused by long self-isolation.
2. Combination of Home-Based and Centre-Based Learning
Parents can choose a combination of home-based and centre-based learning to provide their children with the stimulation they need while minimising the risks involved. Learning centres will develop systems to adapt to this change and publish guidelines for a smooth transition from isolation to regular activity.
3. Helping Parents Get On With Their Lives
Letting children attend the learning centre also gives parents the time to start organising their lives as well. Some have started to return to the office or take up large projects, which means they need to focus on their job. Children being in learning centres or schools gives you a much-needed break.
4. Improving Mental Health
Several long weeks of self-isolation may have taken a toll on their child’s overall mental health. Getting back to learning centres and finding engagement among peers will improve their mood considerably. They will be happier and more eager to spend time on a positive activity. Parents won’t have to deal with as many tantrums or episodes of listlessness.
All learning centres and schools will take precaution to protect children and reduce the chances of an outbreak. You need to follow the guidelines provided by the centre to ensure no one is harmed. Clovel has already taken steps and trained all educators on the staff to ensure the children are safe while they are at our centre. As a small, family-based establishment, your children are safer in here.
We at Clovel Childcare and Early Learning Centre, provide a very nurturing environment for children to learn and grow. For any information about our Educational Programs, give us a call at 02 9199 0294 or fill in this contact us form.
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