Make no mistake about it, the national lockdown due to Covid-19 has been extraordinarily stressful for the majority of South African parents and children alike.
With no school, no sport, no music, no friends, no outdoor activity for five weeks and now only an hour really in the mornings to get outside, our children have been placed under an enormous amount of stress and so many are struggling - particularly those who relied on school to get their daily meal and those who have no access to ipads, laptops and remote learning and who are now falling further and further behind in their curriculums.
But it’s not all doom and gloom, and staying at home has been a relief for some children who may find the business of day-to-day life a bit too hectic.
It’s also allowed some children to stop and smell the roses, to be more creative, and to learn skills around the house that perhaps they might never have learned otherwise.
Joburg mom Sarah Wright, for example, cannot believe how much her 9-year-old son Nathan has chilled out since staying at home.
"His nervous twitches have all but disappeared and he just seems so much more relaxed, despite everything that he’s going through," she maintains, adding that he’s also learnt how to code and edit videos.
"I cannot believe how resilient children are and I wish I could be more like them. My kids used to complain about what plate they ate off or if I sliced their sandwich the wrong way, and now look at them!"
"They have coped with this pandemic in ways I could never have imagined. They have learnt how to listen (to the government, but still not me!) and they now know what patience is. Once upon a time they couldn't even wait for the next episode of Thomas the Train to load but now they have learnt to wait and wait and wait to eventually, one day, see their friends again."
Cape Town playschool teacher Helen Tarr agrees that the lockdown has had some positive effects on the two and three year old children who attend her little school Little Blessings.
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"Little ones staying at home all day with doting grannies are now learning how to colour in beautifully. Some are finally potty trained. And then there are the ones who are getting to spend all day with mom, dad or both and even though their parents are probably incredibly stressed, just having them around will have such a positive impact on their emotional and social well-being."
Having to fill up all the hours in the day have also unleashed some kids’ creativity and Claire Meadows in Durban can’t believe how much more creative her 11-year-old son, Joshua, has become over the past two months.
"I always thought he had more of a Maths brain like me, so that’s what I tended to focus on. So to see him drawing the most magnificent, detailed drawings, and building phenomenal Lego creations (some inspired by the internet) has been such a bonus. He finishes his school work quickly so he can get back to his drawing and he is so content to sit and bake on his own now.”"
Other kids, like thirteen-year-old Tamsin Emery in Cape Town, have taken it one step further and have started baking like crazy to raise money for charity and are learning so much about compassion and empathy.
Her mom, Debbie, says that, "Tam loves to bake, and she has decided to do it for a great cause. One hundred percent of the profit of Tam’s cinnabons goes to the Happy Feet feeding scheme."
And then there are the kids who have finally learnt how to mow the lawn and unpack the dishwasher.
For example Sandy Beamish, Cape Town mom to Jonathan and William in grades 4 and 5, loves the fact that her boys now know that the dishwasher is located in the kitchen, that they know how to pack and unpack it, and they know where the on button for the vacuum is and that they have to mop the floor after vacuuming it.
"They learnt their mistake when mopping the wooden floors upstairs and nearly flooded the downstairs but they worked together and got most of the water up. Thank goodness it was the hottest day that day!"
"They have helped in the garage, helped my husband Dan fix a pipe, washed the dogs, learnt how to empty the basket for the pool. They now also know how to read instructions on a muffin packet, follow the instructions, turn on an oven and bake their own muffins... and clean up afterwards! I have realised how privileged we are and how capable our children actually are. The next challenge will be keeping this up when we get back to ‘normal life’."
Has the lockdown had any positive effects on your kids or are they mostly struggling? Let us know.
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