By Ravi Singh Negi
Schools and institutions have been closed for more than a year and children are confined at home. Children are away from their peer group, from play grounds, picnics, their relatives and many social activities.
Human beings are social creatures and without society, their desired overall development is not possible. This development starts right from the beginning of life. Social life during one’s childhood is of utmost importance for the social and behavioural development of a child. Social interaction of children comes takes place at home, neighbourhood, schools, clubs, playground and other community gatherings. This is where they improve their language and learn to interact with people and come to know their place in society, which is a must for normal social development, individual development and self discovery of a child. Social communication also helps children manage their emotions and provide an opportunity to improve and test their leadership capabilities.
The Covid lockdown has brought many behavioural changes in society. Families and people are unable to interact with each other, which has affected the children most. Direct social communication for children has come to an end. Children up to the age group of 10 will bounce back soon, since most of their social learning comes from parents. The only thing parents have to concentrate on is the health and discipline in routine life of the child including sleeping, eating and study patterns. It will always be helpful if the schedule is adjusted as if school days are ongoing.
Covid isolation will certainly affect adolescents, which includes – Early Adolescents (ages 11-14), Mid-Adolescents (ages 15-17) and late Adolescents or Young Adults (Ages 18-24). Adolescence brings a lot of biological and hormonal changes and is a time for major psychological and social transformation. For these adolescents, most of the learning at this stage takes place outside the home. In today’s scenario, the distance learning and absence of the peer group has brought significant changes in social learning, consequently hampering the overall development of adolescents.
Adolescents have plenty of time and stick to a monotonous routine so they feel much lonely and bored at home which results in negative thoughts, anxiety and sometimes, depression. Now, again, they are left with parents and other family members. The situation can be handled carefully and can be turned positive by preventing their loneliness and boredom. Parents have to provide extra care to adolescents. Modern technology has helped these youngsters interact with friends and relatives through phones and other systems, but it can never substitute face-to-face communication. These electronic gadgets have their own hazards. Excess screen exposure is harmful and excess time on the internet takes adolescents to various unwanted sites. Parents must have a friendly relationship with lots of communication of the child’s interest. The child should be encouraged in creative activities which can be performed at home. They should be encouraged to join some NGO of their own interest in which they can participate online, which should also be monitored. Children should have a personal number of their favourite teacher and if possible of some professional counsellor.