In this week’s episode, we get to hear the voices of children and a parent who has been impacted by lockdown. Andrea has spoken previously on the podcast but this time she is accompanied by her eldest daughter, 9-year-old Ella, and her son, 7-year-old Luke.
One of the great fears many of us have had regarding the unprecedented events of the last 18 months is how social isolation and lockdown measures would impact the development of young children. Part of these worries has centred around education. In Ella’s words: “I actually did miss school, honestly I thought I’d never say that but I ended up saying it”. Of course it is natural for children to miss the opportunity to socialise and to develop through such social interaction. Talking about her friends, Ella says: ““They help me a lot… they’re really kind to me and they listen to me a lot and I listen to them a lot and I’ve known them for a very long time, like 5 or 6 years”. Such a period of time is of course the majority of Ella’s life, so not being able to spend time with her friends must have been an extremely difficult experience. Ella struggled further as hearing issues meant that she was not able to make full use of video interaction.
Despite these challenges, one thing that clearly comes through in listening to the family is how the intense bond that exists between them truly helped both the children and Andrea manage the difficulties of the situation. Luke talks enthusiastically about learning to ride a bike during lockdown and about eventually beating his sister in a race. And Ella says “The only people I could ever see were my family, which wasn’t that bad because I love my family so much”.
That family had an extension during lockdown too as both Ella and Luke witnessed the arrival of a baby sister. Luke talks about being really excited about having a baby sister. However, Andrea notes how Luke struggled to deal with her arrival at first. Getting used to “the shift in positioning” was difficult for him, as it can be for all young children. With his little sister’s birth, he was no longer the baby of the family.
Andrea reflects on the concerns she has had for her children having to go through the lockdown experience, particularly the fear that they have had to bear witness to: “there’s so much fear out there… some people jump backwards to get out of your way”. She goes on to say: “it is a virus which is killing people but there needs to be some perspective, I think… understanding and perspective and less fear”. Listening to Ella, however, it would seem that her perspective is operating just fine: “It’s nearly over, so don’t worry, and we’re all in this together… everybody’s working a lot harder and we’ve got it under control.” Such a mindset seems perfectly adjusted to deal with the difficult times children and adults alike have had to face.