A year in a Pandemic.. 7 things we have learned about children
It has been a year since we shut our doors down for the “2 week block to flatten the curve”, which turned into a 3 month period; it has been 9 months since we opened our doors back to the public, in the middle of a pandemic awaiting a second wave; it has been 6 months since we began to operate at full capacity. Here we are, entering the next year of the unknown feeling strong and ready to take it all on.
It this past year through all of the ups and downs of operating during a pandemic we have continued to reflect, take professional development, to network with our sector and most importantly we continued to learn and grow. Here are a few things we have learned about your children:
- CHILDREN ARE SO RESILIENT: We are so proud of how well children have entered childcare during a pandemic. With open communication, strategies and support, children have been able to embrace every restriction in place and go with the flow. When given the opportunity to explore the new world, they have found a way to play, find joy and build relationships.
- ALL THEY NEED IS LOVE: In a pandemic when life feels so unpredictable, we learned that the one thing we can rely on is each other. We know that a secure attachment for children allows them to feel confident and to feel safe; this pandemic really showed us that when we take the time to build a trusting relationship with children, they feel comforted and relaxed in the environment. And do you know what, it feels good to delight in them.
- PLAY IS SO VALUABLE: It has been so heart-warming to see children playing again. Even with limited material due to restrictions, children have been creative in exploration, in building and imaginative play. Outside play has given children a sense of freedom. Play has provided children an outlet to forget about restrictions and the safe place to reenact/process their experiences.
- CHILDREN HAVE STRESS AND WORRIES TOO: While we are learning about how resilient children are, we are also learning about how children show their stress and worries- *hint: it shows up in their behaviours. While children are trying to process the world around them, they are looking to us adults to help organize their thoughts and feelings; they may be looking for our attention and unsure how to do that. This past year has been a lot for adults to navigate: working from home while parenting/homeschooling, having to work and losing the support of community and family, being isolated etc; it has been hard to be our best selves. Luckily, when children have supportive environments, stress and worries are temporary.
- CHILDREN THRIVE WITH ROUTINE CHOICES AND CONSISTENCY: In this unpredictable world, we are learning how important it is to provide predictability and choices when possible. While we believe in flexibility, we are learning that children are more cooperative and engaged when they know what is happening, what is expected and what is coming next. Offering warnings, using timers and visual schedules have been a great support. Offering choices within boundaries allows children to have the sense of control and empowerment.
- CHILDREN HAVE A NATURAL INSTINCT TO HAVE SOCIAL INTERACTIONS AND PEERS: We have been worried about children coming into childcare after social isolation. When children are having their physical and emotional needs met, they are quickly becoming engaged with peers and looking to make new friends.
- CHILDREN ARE ALWAYS LEARNING: Learning happens in all shapes and forms, it does not need to happen in traditional ways. Children are learning by observing adults, by exploring items in new ways, observing their environment and when given the opportunity they can make discoveries and formulate theories. EVEN when we adults are not having our best days, children are naturally curious about the world and making their own connections.