Summertime for parents during a pandemic
I think it’s fair to say that most of us are doing the best we can.
We’ve all been dealing with lockdown since March. We parents have been doing what we can, even little things like trying to avoid taking kids to the stores, because they don’t fully understand the new rules. The one-way arrows, the no touching anything; even putting them in shopping carts and cringing when their little hands touch their faces (or our faces); it’s been a struggle.
We don’t want our kids on screens all day. But the sad reality is: as a whole, everybody’s been clocking more hours on electronic devices since March. The kids have all been inside for months. They haven’t been allowed to go to school or play with their friends for months. It was rainy and miserable for months. The playgrounds were closed for months.
I can speak only for us, but we also haven’t had a whole lot of extra support since the lockdown. Most of our family lives off-island or across the border. Sitters and playdates are hard to come by. There are too few places to take the kids out for little “treats” or spontaneous outings.
Many relatives and friends aren’t able to visit or help with the little ones; as most of our bubbles are still very small. The borders are closed. Travel plans are on hold indefinitely. Daycares, summer camps and other activities have been postponed, limited or cancelled altogether for months. It’s been a struggle for all of us, and very hard on us parents.
I have a background in education, and after all these months, even I’m running out of things to do with them. Because being at home in lockdown isn’t the same as homeschooling. Having experience in education isn’t the same when you’re trying to use that skillset for your own children, who are under your care, in the same house with you 24/7.
Now it’s summertime.
If you see kids playing outside, please don’t shake your head disapprovingly at them or their caretakers as we try to shoo them to safety on the sidewalk.
They’re learning to ride their bikes and scooters. They’re getting fresh air and exercise. They’re playing and exploring their worlds, and we as their guardians are doing the best we can to keep everyone safe, happy, healthy and entertained during these extraordinary times.
Tensions are high. It would be nice if we could all be a little more patient, a little more compassionate and a little more flexible as we try to navigate through these times of uncertainty and hardship. Everyone has had to make adjustments and sacrifices.
Please, neighbours, show a little extra kindness. Slow down in the side streets. We’ve been more limited than ever where we can take our kids these last few months and have been cooped up in the house for too long.
Everyone always talks about the good ol’ days when the kids just went outside to play. Guess what? That’s what we’re trying to encourage them to do. Please, don’t look down at us for letting them have a little time outside. Instead of scowling at the responsible guardians who are watching the kids playing, take a deep breath and know that you’re going to get to your destination safely, and it may take you an extra five seconds to make sure the kids get to the sidewalk before you rush by. We are your neighbours, after all.
We’ve all been cooped up and the emotional strain has been intense, for sure. I’m certain we could all benefit from a little more time playing and finding little ways to de-stress.
My request is simple: if you see a parent out and about, wether they’re playing with their kids, or maybe even trying to calm them at a store or keep them from doing something against the “new normal” expectations, please keep in mind that most of us are doing the best we can and that a little smile, or a wave, or any sign of compassion is actually quite humane and will help lift us all up.