The question on everyone's lips. With COVID restrictions slowly easing in Australia, it's become quite normal to feel anxious and yet elated. Calm yet confused. Assured yet scared. What will life after COVID look like, and how will it affect our children?
As a business owner and mum of three, my pre-COVID life was nothing short of a strict timetable choc-o-block full of drop offs and pick-ups, before and after school activities, weekend sports and birthday parties. Not to mention the odd social gathering, BBQ or date night thrown in for good measure.
Which is why going from full steam ahead to full scale lockdown, hit me and probably every busy family in Australia, like a tonne of bricks. We'd been so accustomed to running around that we'd forgotten how to stop. Literally.
Interestingly, easing into the lockdown and the slowness that followed, wasn't so bad. Sleep-ins became a daily ritual. Schooling more often than not was conducted in pyjamas until at least morning tea time. Afternoon bike rides in the lane were a daily staple. Physical Education class equated to a walk in the nearby rainforest. Gourmet lunches were served. And within a heartbeat it was all over.
School has now resumed. Shops are now open. Companies are slowly staggering staff back to their workplaces, and stress levels are slowly creeping up again.
So what will a post COVID world look like for our kids? Here's a snippet of how it has already affected mine:
1. At School: Parents must now drop and collect children from the school gates, and there is strictly no mingling allowed on school grounds. Previously we'd spend three afternoons per week playing in the school grounds for over an hour, which was a great way for socially isolated parents to connect, as well as great exercise for the kids.
2. At Soccer: Soccer training has recommenced but parents must drop and collect children and then leave; they cannot watch their children train. Which is stressful for my son who lacks confidence already.
3. At Gymnastics: Gymnastics activities for my 4 year old commence next week but it's strictly drop-off/pick-up only, and my daughter has already expressed her disappointment that I cannot stay and watch.
COVID has sadly removed our sense of community and connection.
You see, it's not the exercise the kids like when playing after school. It's the social connections they make.
It's not the soccer skills that my son needs when I stand by the sideline; it's love and moral support through my presence. The same can be said for my daughter at gymnastics.
So in a post COVID world, it's clear that while life has somewhat resumed back to normal in terms of appointments and activities, it's lacking a very central human connection element which is almost a harder pill to swallow.
The solution? Think about the connection and love we all shared during lockdown. That unity as a family. Channel that and be as present as you can, when you can. Our adaptive little humans will learn to enjoy our post COVID world, whether you're watching them playing soccer or not.