Millions of children and young people around the world have been affected by school closures. Due to the epidemic, children cannot go out in comfort for long. The social life of the children was also affected. In answering our question about the damage caused by the coronavirus process in children and their return to school during the epidemic, Elf Epek, a child development and education expert, gave very important advice.
What has the epidemic changed in the social life of children?
Unfortunately, the epidemic has limited the environment needed to establish and develop the socialization skills of preschool children (ages 3-6). They see the park areas where they used to go with their parents and play happily is now a dangerous place. This causes some fear in the children and they need to take shelter from their parents to avoid possible harm. Schools and parks that were closed due to the epidemic, curfews were imposed, children were forced to meet in the virtual world to meet their social needs. During this time they faced the challenge of heavy exposure to technological devices. Adolescents, on the other hand, who were confined to quarantine time, return to solutions such as being alone, confined to their home, socializing through social media, and separating their sleep and life time from their family members. This made it difficult to limit unlimited space, realize their own limits and provide self-control, especially in the virtual world. They faced various dangers and remained so.
What are the common mental problems of children in this process?
Unfortunately, the quarantine restrictions imposed by the epidemic and the stay-at-home process prevent these needs from being met with peer groups. We will see the impact of this situation on the development of identity and personality of children and adolescents in the near future. But the first reaction in this process was aggression. Children and adolescents who were confined to confined spaces and narrow boundaries were instructed to open a place for themselves using verbal and physical violence to get away from the person in order to share their confined space. Parents, who filled the process with high anxiety and fear and focused on the problem rather than the solution, gave their children the same feeling, even if not verbally, with the transversal transfer, and the children felt it intensely. Parents who constantly feel compelled to do something at home for their children and act accordingly; Discusses the processes of getting to know, acting, calming, perceiving, creating solutions and children’s own development. This situation limits their children’s self-development and independence process and makes them dependent on foreigners.
Schools have begun preparing for part-time face-to-face education. Children who are away from the school environment may experience adjustment problems. What is the responsibility of the family in this regard?
Many children are dying to go back to school and especially to their friends. Children who want to continue learning online are often the ones who are more vulnerable to external dangers than those who do. The duties of families begin with the ability of children to focus on action and to implement the measures at their disposal. Other important responsibilities include liaising with school officials, monitoring behavioral changes as purposefully as possible, and giving children time to reunite, adapt, and balance with each other and with school processes.
The children who started school for the first time have become accustomed to the online system, now there is a transformation of face-to-face learning. How can they adapt to this system?
Children always find their own balance, they are like water. If there are no annoying or intentional situations, they can easily adapt. Giving time and opportunity, clearly articulating boundaries without ambiguity, focusing not only on their mental development, but also on their mental processes and physical needs will facilitate students’ adaptation.
How to support children who have difficulty adapting to the classroom environment and emotional changes?
The biggest support is empathy and sympathy. A person who does not feel emotionally comfortable and secure cannot be expected to show emotional performance. Priority is to share feelings, only non-verbal sincere sharing and synchronicity. The whole process falls on the shoulders of the children if only the children are considered to be in trouble. In this process, caregivers (mothers, fathers, teachers) who have difficulty providing the necessary assistance can also evaluate themselves or seek expert help by engaging in this process with health.
We ask children: distance learning or classroom education?
For some students who have been studying distance learning for a long time due to coronavirus, the lesson bell will ring soon. Well, do kids like online learning, do they miss face-to-face learning? We asked the kids for their opinions on this:
Melis Bilgin (7): I miss school and my friends very much. I don’t want to continue online classes. I want to continue my lessons in my school and in my classroom. I can also gain skills from online lessons, but I learn more in class.
Ece Sude Tezcan (12): I think I didn’t get the skills I got in school from online education. I don’t like online training very much. During the holidays we can spend time with our friends, I get a lot more skills in lessons. The school is beautiful in all respects. I think studying with friends also increases motivation. I don’t want to continue training too much online, I want it to be limited to 1-2 months, the process starts to get tedious when it takes longer and it also affects our health. We have been exposed to too much computer, both our eye health and our physical health have been affected by inactivity. There are many downsides to online education. That’s why I want schools to open up and move towards face-to-face education. I hope this process will end as soon as possible.
Hazel Lightthick (9): I miss my school and my friends very much. I don’t like online classes at all, I don’t want to continue, I want to go to school. I miss going on vacation with my friends and my teachers. It feels good to be home, I can do so much at home, but I miss my friends so much, I’m afraid I’ll forget their faces.
Dilanur Guklu (13): Although I don’t miss school, I miss my friends. Since this is my last year at school, I want to spend some more time with my friends. However, this year I will be able to continue the online class. I like both online courses and get skills.
Akin Kara (11): Live lessons and school environment are very different. Waiting for my school to open. Distance education is tiring for my eyes. I want to see my teacher’s face live now.