By Daily Journal editorial board
Every first-time parent of a newborn child learns just how fragile a new life is. Great care is taken with every movement in those first days and weeks. The care is normally accompanied by great concern that they’re doing everything correctly. It’s only natural.
And as the years of that child’s life continue on, the fragility lessens. Careful movements become a thing of the past as they take control of themselves. The carefulness is then replaced with scraped knees and bruises.
Their mental and emotional fragility, though, lingers for much longer. In “normal” environments, that fragility could liken go unnoticed as the child progresses as expected. But, with COVID-19, we haven’t seen normal for a long time.
It could be argued that a sense of normalcy is more important to children than it is to us adults. Sure, we’re getting frustrated, lonely and quite possibly depressed — and some are faring better than others — but the stagnation in our schedules and social lives is not doing untold damage to our development.
For children, predictability is a cornerstone of their development.
This week, we spoke with Amanda LaLuna-Chorak, an assistant professor and director of the Child Development Program at Olivet Nazarene University, to learn if these unprecedented times will impact children’s development. The answer is definitely yes but we won’t know the full depth for a while to come.
She says that the impact is also going to go far beyond test scores and the measurable academic data.
Fortunately, there are some things we can do to help our children through this.
At schools, she says, educators will need to do some repair that’s developmentally appropriate while also chipping away at the gaps in learning.
At home, she says, anything you can do to incorporate familiar, guaranteed opportunities in children’s daily lives will help restore a sense of security. Our children will need safe places from which to relaunch after this is all said and done.
Until the day comes that we can say this pandemic is behind us and then long after it’s gone, let’s all treat our children with the same care shown in the first days of their lives.