9 Positive Things Our Kids Learned From COVID-19
Education| By Amy Vagne | December 22, 2020
As they adapted to remote learning and more time at home, kids learned many good things from the challenges of COVID-19, including lessons in resilience.
Kids constantly amaze us with their ability to bounce back and find silver linings when things get hard – and there is no better example than the perseverance kids displayed through the upheaval of the past year. Just look at how they adapted to homeschooling and not being able to see friends as often and all the heart-warming stories of acts of kindness from the youngest members of our communities. We asked parents – and a few experts – about the ways kids have impressed them in 2020 and what they may have learned during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Applying Good Hygiene Practices
All it takes for kids to learn how to properly wash their hands and cover their faces when they sneeze is a global pandemic. Who knew? “Children are definitely more aware now about germs and disease transmission,” says GP Anneliese Szyc, “which is a great place to build on discussions about personal hygiene practices like hand washing and sneeze etiquette and even personal space and body autonomy.”
Having Empathy for Others
Children have had their eyes opened to the hardships of others and they’ve responded by showing they want to help make a difference. “Since the beginning of COVID my students have been watching the news and asking questions,” says Peter Vagne, a primary school teacher. “They’re thinking about the big picture and they want to help others who are less fortunate. It’s actually really heartwarming, how much they want to help and how generous and kind they can be.”
No more cries of “I’m bored!” – countless days spent stuck at home means most Aussie kids are now experts when it comes to keeping busy, making up games and finding fun things to do. They became resourceful; finding new ways to play with what they already had on hand, such as camping in the backyard. “My daughters really learned how to come up with activities on their own,” says Sandra, a mum to a five- and a two-year-old. “Whether it was making cards for loved ones or imaginary role play. It led them to explore without my prompting.”
Improving Their Digital Skills
The pivot to at-home learning has given children skills they can put to good use in the future. Primary school teacher Elizabeth Charlton notes that “remote learning has actually encouraged children to better organise their time and focus on smaller set tasks.”
“COVID has forced both teachers and their students to upskill in all aspects of technology, especially communication tools like Zoom and Google Classroom,” she says. This has made students accountable for submitting work by a deadline and has allowed teachers to give them near immediate feedback.”
Learning to Cook
With their parents madly baking banana bread and experimenting with sourdough starters, is it any wonder COVID has seen a spike of kids working in the kitchen? “My son has definitely developed an interest in cooking,” says mother-of-one Annie. “He’s blitzing pesto and making biscuits. It’s the best!”
Discovering Their Neighbourhood
Staying close to home has encouraged kids and parents to explore more locally, getting to know neighbours intimately and becoming extra-familiar with our suburbs and streets. Melbourne-based mum Kashia says, “We’ve been getting to know our neighbours better and appreciating everything within walking distance. Plus my girls have taken a special interest in looking after the local area – we go for walks with a rubbish picker-upper!”
When social distancing and lockdowns meant kids couldn’t play sports or see their friends as often, they were taught an important lesson about delayed gratification. “My students have learned how to be patient as they wrestle with what to do in lockdown when they can’t do the usual,” says Jim Olson, high school teacher and grandfather of six. “It's all been very character building. I think they’ve managed to find joy in the simple things, like getting out in nature and enjoying birdsong, flowers and sunsets.”
Being More Grateful for What They Have
Before COVID, nightly battles to get kids to do their homework were par for the course. Now, many kids are happy for safe learning spaces and the chance to see their friends each day at school. “My six-year-old son gained a real appreciation for school,” says Amy, a mother of one. “Before everything started he was still clinging to me at the gate at drop-off. But when he went back, from day one, the kiss and ride concept instigated by COVID restrictions changed the game. He walked off happily with nary a glance back!”
The number one lesson of 2020? Resilience: how to be tough and recover quickly from setbacks. “It hasn’t been easy but I think kids have adapted to the new normal,” says father-of-three Tom. “The little things don’t bother them as much anymore and they’re more resilient when there are setbacks.”
It’s not one of the most pleasant lessons our kids will ever learn, but one to set them in good stead for facing future challenges head-on.