The Missing Socials

For many Victorian parents and children, they are entering up to five months of remote learning, minus just a few weeks back at school in between each stage of lockdown. For some of the kids, this was only a one week reunion in between the two lockdowns. There is no doubt that the restrictions have taken their toll on everyone. For parents, I am certain you are constantly concerned for your child’s wellbeing.  

Although here at Positive Teaching, we are not psychologists, we’re well educated on the continual information delivered on Child Development. Please, we want you to find comfort (even if just for a moment) to sit and remind ourselves that children are resilient and adaptable beings. This will hopefully assure you that once they return to school, they will have forgotten about the months that have been and continue to positively develop under ‘normal’ circumstances. However, this doesn’t exclude what they’re feeling or missing out on now. 

Children are missing out on their social interactions and learnings. Something that uniquely develops when they independently create friendships and navigate social situations. They are missing their classroom, the playground, park play, team sports or even extended family catch ups. And yes, although necessary amongst the restrictions, we agree it’s heartbreaking for the littlies. 

We recommend you pause and take a breath. Firstly reach out to your extra support networks and make sure that you are ok. Once you’ve found another wind of strength (because let’s face it, parents are superheroes) we need to think about how we can get our children to the finish line of this 2020 hardship. 

At Positive Teaching we recently had our thoughts provoked by @HarvardCentre’s tweet: 

It reminded us to take the pressure off ourselves a little bit and let us reflect on how humans are adaptable and can ‘catch up’ on things they’ve missed. If we are setting too many expectations for ourselves and our children at this time, we may ultimately feel disappointed. We must embrace the moment that is. 

 “Experience is a brutal teacher. But you learn. My god do you learn.” – CS Lewis

Below we have shared a model from Kids Matter (an Australian Social and Emotional Framework) which shows a quick summary of some of the  focus for social  and emotional development

And in this case it is brutal, as it is taking the kids social play away. So how do we support this part of development during remote learning? Because let’s face it, on screen catch ups are just not the same!

 According to your own family dynamics, principles and personalities, you may use this to reflect on some social activities you could integrate into your families day: 

Play Take the time to play with them, developing the role of a friend that would hold common interest and showing reactions of laughter, fairness and regulation. 
Positive Separation and Resilience Discuss the positives that will be again or the nice things that have happened that day? 
Encourage your own retreats in the house that are a welcoming and soothing space for individual wellbeing. 
Allow a safe space for all of their feelings. Remembering that feeling sad is a feeling that can be positively acknowledged. 
Emotional DevelopmentTake the time to appropriately share your feelings with them, engaging in personal and meaningful conversations.
By http://www.positiveteaching.com.au

Sure, this is easier said than done. However it is something to consider whilst our ability to change what is, is not able. Remember there are lots of fantastic resources out there if you are unsure where to start. We love some of the game ideas on  Childdevelopment.com.au or if you prefer resources check out Proud to be Primary.  

Mrs LD’s Quick Tips: 

  1. Let them see your personality and build a playtime together. 
  1. Introduce a theme each week that encourages social fun and thought. This may be a board game theme, or perhaps a play that needs to be rehearsed another week, or a musical concert, or even a sporting round robin for a week.  
  1. Take the time to talk to your support networks and share ideas with friends. 
  1. Put less pressure on yourself and take each day as it comes. 
  1. Work as a family to build a happy space, allow for flexibility, change and conversation through the day. 

References and Resources: 

https://childdevelopment.com.au/areas-of-concern/play-and-social-skills/

https://www.mindfullittleminds.com/product-category/tools-for-kids/journals/

© Positive Teaching

http://www.positiveteaching.com.au

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