The coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19) has posed a toughest public health challenge to the global community. With millions infected and over a half million deaths, the spread of this deadly disease is far from being controlled. The fallout of the pandemic has not only put the global healthcare system under stress but has also paralyzed the economic structure and the psycho-social fabric of society in an unusual manner.
Starting from a wet market of Wuhan in China in December 2019, the virus crossed boarders very quickly compelling governments to shut down cities around the world. Pakistan was no exception as it opted to lock down its major cities and selected districts to restrict the spread of the virus. Chitral was among the districts to undergo the lockdown process and the results have so far came out to be promising. According to epidemiologists, the only way to keep one safe is by following the safety measures such as washing hands regularly, social distancing and staying home; wearing masks also helps preventing the spread of this disease.
During this pandemic, some parents have to work from home. Schools are closed and shifted to homes. As every event has its own pros and cons, same way this pandemic has also brought forward many opportunities followed by much more challenges; both of which will be discussed in this paper. When talking about the opportunities provided by this pandemic, one cannot neglect the fact that this time has given us all a great chance to spend more time with our loved ones at home; for most people, it is also a time for some self-reflection and observation. Many folks got the platform to create something new, and also learn some new skills (cooking, drawing, painting, and tailoring). These and many other positive impacts of COVID-19 can be seen around us, but the challenges faced by us all are more troubling.
The biggest challenge is working from home; many employees, including some parents have to stay at home and do their jobs. It is quite troubling for working parents as they do not get the proper working environment, and their families also need to be taken care of. Another big issue is the closing of certain projects which has led to the unemployment of many people, including many parents. This gives rise to financial instability inside homes, and it leads to no proper fulfillment of the family needs. The most stressful scenario for the parents is the closing of schools, which has resulted in the homeschooling of their children. Many parents do not know how to deal with their children’s holistic development including the academic field, and it leads to their frustration towards their kids; some working parents face difficulty in teaching their young ones as they have to carry on many other chores along with their own job responsibilities. Another obstacle is the unlimited use of screen by the young ones; they look at the screen all day, and it affects their thinking ability.
The various kind of disturbances, as cited above, have resulted in socially undesirable consequences, for instance emotional instability and child violence. According to researches, young preschoolers are always eager to play and explore; they are said to be little scientists. They have to stay at home these days, which results in them trying out new things; they may invent plays or deal with certain dangerous things such as electricity, and heat. This behavior of them triggers their parents, and they end up acting violent towards their own children; it then directly affects the mental growth and causes the loss of confidence of the young ones. This Pandemic has also resulted in the emotional instability of many people; they stay disturbed due to the lack of their normal routine, just like the above-mentioned challenges, many elders especially parents are in financial crisis; which leads to them being harsh to their families, including the little ones.
A few suggestions can be put forward to make it easier for the parents to feel more satisfied with their children’s development and learning process.
The first thing parents can do is design different interesting activities for their kids; it can be a mixture of academic and general knowledge. They can also give them small writing projects or drawing works while carrying out their own jobs at home.
Another important step can be the involvement of their children with their house chores; they can invite their preschoolers to help them with some kitchen works, such as dishwashing. It becomes more interesting when they ask them to count the dishes while washing them or point out the colors of certain food ingredients. Parents can apply this method to any house chores (washing, cleaning and cooking) they include their kids in. The other vital activity can be making a routine with them; parents can help their little ones in developing their own timetable (bedtime, wake-up time, exercise, food time, study time, screen time and play time) for every day, it shall include new activities for each day.
This routine will also lessen their screen timing, and it will benefit their health and brain development. Another important step is parents should try their best to openly communicate with their children and abolish any communication gap, if already existing; this leads to them being more honest and sincere about their actions. Furthermore, the parents should stay connected to their children’s teachers or caregivers; this causes them to stay updated about the latest works and projects and developmental activities for their children. They should also ask questions regarding the upcoming obligations and curriculum changes. Apart from the academic life, parents should also teach their children about the nature and ecosystem; involving them in works such as cooking, planting waters, and cleaning will automatically make their minds strong.
In a nutshell, we can all agree that this hard time has also some positive impacts apart from the negative ones. Although the challenges are hard to cope with, we can all use this time in a more positive and fruitful way. Parents could act as the educators for their own children and shape their future in a more helpful way.