OPINION: Observing a year of lockdown through children's eyes
- Credit: Ruth Davies
March 23 - exactly one year since the very first day of home school.
In those first few days when it was all a bit exciting to be doing Joe Wicks workouts, walking every day and being careful not to go near anyone else when out on the path we could never have imagined one year on would still be so full of discombobulation.
We’d tried to make a bit of a holiday out of it at first, turn something scary into a positive and with real warmth from the sun introducing us to spring we taught Jimmy how to ride his bike, painted rainbows on the windows and made a teepee in the garden.
We hoped it would last two weeks tops - so we treated it like a snow day and gave just a nod to school work.
A documentary or two, baking banana bread and marching children through muddy fields to discover treasure meant I got to live out the Instagram version of being a home school parent instead of the reality!
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Reality soon came but home school aside it was pretty fun to begin with.
We assumed it would be a moment to remember with a twinkle in our eyes much like my grandma spoke fondly of war time.
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Maybe, one day, we might find ourselves with that but a year in, not at the end of the tunnel, I’m not quite there yet. I don’t know about you?
With the world turning 365 days and each of us having celebrated a lockdown birthday I note for us adults the absurd strange reality we are in.
For children, those who have a massive portion of their lives now devoted to living in a pandemic, I wonder how they feel about the situation?
I asked my children to give me their thoughts:
Florence is 11, in her last year of primary school and over the last year has applied to, taken exams for and been interviewed before being offered a place at the high school of her choice.
She has thrived and met the challenge of doing all this remotely with a smile on her face saying lockdown gave her more time to devote to learning for the exams.
She says though that she is tired of it all now and still smarting about the show she never got to be in with the National Youth Music Theatre as well as her Scout’s trip to Germany being cancelled.
The main thing which kept her going was keeping in close virtual contact with friends. “I’m so glad I have my own phone, mummy,” she said and she has actually nurtured friendships much further afield from when we lived in London and which may otherwise not have had time spent on them.
Jimmy is 8. He has struggled the most in our family both academically and socially and we realised not having his own phone made it much harder for him.
We allowed video games we might otherwise have not so that he could chat to pals through online gaming (closely monitored) however, he and his friends don’t talk in the same way as his sister and hers so it hasn’t been easy.
He says: “I hate it, it’s lonely and I’m actually quite good at school work at school but at home it doesn’t work.
"Nothing does in lockdown. I’m angry about it all but I don’t know why. I don’t know how to say that properly?”
He is confused and wishes it could all just be normal.
“All I want for my birthday (in May) is to see my cousin Arthur, can that happen?” he asks often.
Little Raffie turned three in October so he doesn’t remember what life was like before but every single time we drive past the gym he says the same thing: "They will clean up the bad germ then I can go swimming again”.
He’s repeating the mantra about the germ but he doesn’t understand any more than he understands why he can’t go back to his Gymboree classes - he waves to the building when we whizz past there on our way to grans.
He started nursery and I’ve never even seen the inside of it but he is confident and happy. This is now his normal and without knowing what’s been lost he just naturally moves to the side if he sees anyone in the street coming towards him…
Posie, our little lockdown baby born into this pandemic is unaffected of course but what will the past 12 month’s lasting effect have on her and all the other lockdown babies, their worlds will be different to our old one for sure!
Who knows where we will be with this in 12 months but signs are positive showing vaccinations are key. Whatever happens we will make it work whichever way we can for the children.
We have to, they are the future after all.
Ruth Davies has a parenting blog at www.rocknrollerbaby.co.uk