Children are not the face of this pandemic. But they are vulnerable and among its biggest victims. While they have thankfully been largely spared from the direct health effects of COVID-19 – at least to date – the crisis is having a profound effect on their well-being. All children, specially the little ones who have been deprived of natural flow of learning and are confined to their home environment for almost a year and two months. This is a universal crisis and, for some children, the impact will be lifelong.
The harmful effects of this pandemic are expected to be most damaging for children in our country because all of them at their tender age are away from their natural environment in which they used to spend time with their friends and Mentors eating, playing, and enjoying together. Their confinement at their homes has been affecting their Physical, Emotional and Mental Health in such a way that once they learn to accommodate in their restricted daily routine, bringing them out of their mental agony will be a mammoth task for all of us. Although many parents have devised several engagements at home out of their concern, most of the parents must have realised that it’s difficult. Ironically despite their sincere caring efforts, children are suffocating being away from their second home of learning and growth.
The learning crisis due to imposed countrywide school closures has affected the children in an unexpected manner. Their cognitive, physical and mental growths are marred resulting into the potential losses for today’s generation. The pre-school stage ensures the foundation of Holistic growth of any child and the perforce distance of children from their Learning for such a long time is definitely going to bring a set back into their lives.
The effects of physical distancing measures and movement restrictions on children’s mental health represent another cause for concern. Children today face anxiety about the negative impact of the pandemic on their lives and their communities, and uncertainty regarding the future: how long today’s extraordinary circumstances will endure and how the pandemic will ultimately be resolved. For children facing extreme deprivations, acute stress can impair their cognitive development and trigger longer-term mental health challenges.
Although we are at a distance, we all can take a resolution to :
• Rebalance the combination of interventions to minimize the impact of standard physical distancing and lockdown strategies on children protecting them to fall into more vulnerable situation.
• Prioritize the continuity of child-centred services particularly in relation to learning, nutrition programmes, immunization and other child protection programmes.
• Provide practical support to parents and caregivers, including how to talk about the pandemic with children, how to manage their own mental health and the mental health of their children, and tools to help support their children’s learning.
We have enough resources which can keep our kids connected with Natural elements of Life. Let us all together weave a net to minimise the gap in their holistic growth and create a world of new normal life.
Nishesh Kumar Sinha
Child Pedagogy Expert