Like Carole Middleton on Pro Plus, I can often find myself dropping a kid at soccer, another at the gym, and a third at tennis in the span of a single morning, while trying to do 15 minutes of yoga with Adriene just to keep myself out of the crack.
It’s not that I’m one of those razor-sharp tiger moms who thinks they’ve raised the next Cristiano Ronaldo, it’s just that it’s the easiest way to stop them from using Fortnite and twerking. on TikTok from Friday evening to Monday morning.
So when the first lockdown came, my very active children – two daughters aged 12 and 7 and a son aged 10 – did not know what to do with themselves.
Sure, we would walk around and play soccer in the backyard while dealing with the unique horror of home schooling, but what they really lacked was the camaraderie of being with their fellow students.
Especially my boy, who at one point became so miserable that he developed insomnia. Having been the healthiest sleeper of all since birth, he would wake up at night sobbing. “When will everything get back to normal?” he kept asking, tears streaming down his tiny face. It was heartbreaking.
Parents are supposed to know everything, but it remains the one question we still can’t answer, leaving our children in a Covid-induced state of limbo which is expected to have far-reaching ramifications.
We already know some of the numbers: 800 million school days have been lost since the first lockdown – and next week the Center for Social Justice will release a report laying bare the horrific levels of post-pandemic absenteeism in our wards class.
According to the NHS, more children than ever are depressed, with one in six children aged five to 16 now identified as having a probable mental health problem, up from one in nine in 2017. The number of children in care has never been higher – as the NSPCC estimates that physical abuse against children has increased by 53% since the first lockdown. Meanwhile, gangs have exploited the coronavirus as a recruiting drive, taking advantage of the increased vulnerability of young people and time spent online.
So make no mistake, the statistics are grim, especially for the UK’s poorest children.
Still, there are consequences of the lockdown that you won’t find in any of the research, let alone the Downing Street graphics, but which nonetheless had a huge impact on children. You may be able to help them catch up in math and English. You can resume soccer training and return to the trampoline park. But what we can never replace are the life experiences they have lost forever.
The end-of-year balls where they had their first kiss, the sports days where they came first in the egg and spoon race, the end-of-year plays where they were ultimately chosen for the lead role ; beaver camps, football tournaments, DofE expeditions, museum tours and PGL vacations.
They are gone, and they can never be recovered. Even lost GSCEs and A-Levels can be certified in one form or another, but there is no way to “mark” all the extracurricular events that never happened.
Yet, as we all know, these are the things that make childhood memories cherished. And huge deposits continue to pour into the memory bank even after those carefree elementary school days and the trials and tribulations of adolescence.
Think about all those college students who have been denied the experience of living in an excavation, and maybe even meeting the person they will one day marry. Or apprentices who have been forced to work from home, prevented from learning from the experience of their colleagues.
What we have witnessed since March 2020 is a violation of the civil liberties of the younger generation that transcends class, color and culture.
Whether it’s being forced to play in unnecessary “bubbles” or having to stick sticks in their noses just to go to school, all kids, no matter what their circumstances, have done it. fly “normally”.
And to make matters worse, government indecision, scientific group thinking and, frankly, poor leadership, continue to create a climate of fear, where even parents fear it will never end – let alone the children. .
Young lives have been turned upside down protecting the elderly and clinically vulnerable, but even though 80% of the adult population (43 million people) received a first dose of the vaccine – and nearly 32 million received a second – children are still forced to make huge sacrifices, such as missing key events and wearing face masks.
And to top it off, even they can see that the rules no longer make sense.
My children cannot have been the only ones wondering why thousands of people were allowed to gather in Wembley Stadium for the euros – while we remain banned from attending their sports days.
They were also baffled to learn that the government still does not seem to confirm whether we will agree to go on summer vacation.
We now learn that fully vaccinated Britons will be allowed to travel without quarantine to Orange List countries – but we still have no idea when, other than ‘later in the summer’.
While welcome news for our planned trip to Spain, such policies raise the serious question of whether vaccinated and unvaccinated children will be treated differently if the time is right for them to receive a vaccine that many parents would prefer not to have. give. I sincerely hope not, because all children must be able to get back to normal if we are to hope to repair the damage caused by the last 15 months.
The government must stop playing with the future of our children.