Me: Ali, what do you think Corona is?
Ali: A very, very, very bad virus… That’s not what I think. That’s what it is!
Let me introduce you to the kindergartener Ali. He has been at home for almost two months now. His younger brother sits at the window, waiting for cars to pass by so he would wave at them.
Ali starts his typical day by doing his assignments, attending his online class, playing around the house, and then the long-awaited walk around the neighborhood with his parents.
He only rode the car once in the past two months, which was a dream coming true on its own.
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Life under the COVID-19 pandemic is very different for many of us. Yet for kids, it not just different; it might be especially difficult. Kids are used to playing around, interacting with their friends, and enjoying open spaces.
For many like Ali, all of this came to a long, painful halt that is leaving them bored and sometimes frustrated with little ability to express themselves.
Parents are now forced to deal with the impact of the lockdown on their kids. It seems more like every daily routine parent did for their kids has multiplied two or three times.
Instead of helping them with their homework for an hour or so a day, it became almost three hours. You used to spend time playing with them after they come from school for 30 minutes? Now it is for two hours, and so on.
Safe or Stuck at Home?
This means that the amount of stress on the parents is doubled, if not more, and certainly, the parents’ stress will find its way to the kids. It then becomes a cyclical process; kids stress you, and you stress them back.
At the same time, the kids want more. They are longing to their friends and the open-air environment.
Ali is now getting angry more frequently, according to his parents. At one of those angry moments, his dad stopped him and asked: do you miss your friends? He burst in tears and nodded his head. Ali used to spend most of his day at school with his close friend Jamal.
Now they spend hours every day video chatting. He also sees his other friends on Zoom during the online-school sessions.
When asked about whether they feel safe or stuck at home, Ali and Jamal both agree that they feel safe. This makes it a bit easier for them to cope up with the new environment. Both of them watch online videos explaining what the pandemic is and how to stay safe.
Yet, Ali and Jamal do not seem to represent all of the American kids.
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