Let children be on their own for a few hours daily

Let children be on their own for a few hours daily

Children are used to their parents not being around them, at least during day time

Covid-19 has changed children’s lives like never before in living memory. Children’s voices need to be listened to a lot more for our cities to become child-friendly, providing them with space and opportunities for all-round growth and well being.

How can we mainstream children’s voices in Bengaluru? DH speaks to a cross-section of Bengalureans to ascertain their views. Tishya Ghosh, Biology facilitator, International Baccalaureate curriculum, has this to say: “The different age groups will have different behavioural patterns in this crisis. Broadly, there can be three age groups – children under the age of five, middle-age group and young teenagers (6-13) and older kids.”

Young children, she says, “need direct support and attention from parents or caregivers. Both young and middle-aged children have high levels of energy and they express their stress through their bodies. So for them, running around or doing physical activity is a must.”

Also Read | Empowering the young: Building a child-friendly city

The dependence of older children on their parents is less and they typically stay in their rooms. “To overcome this, there should be a balance and a schedule,” Tishya points out.

Children are used to their parents not being around them, at least during day time. But now, they don’t have personal space. She suggests that parents should let children be on their own for a few hours. “Let them do what they feel like.”

Children go to school to learn basic curriculum but the larger picture is they learn discipline and schedule. Right now, their schedule has been disrupted and to top that, they are unable to go out, interact with their friends, and there is no physical activity.

Abhirami, a resident of Mahalakshmi Layout, observes: “As a mother, it is really a big task to take care of children at home, that too in this pandemic situation. Children are depressed because they are not able to play outside and interact with the peer group.”

She says there should be a platform for children where they can interact with their friends. “I feel parents should at least take them to their schoolmates’ house following all the protocols which will reduce their stress.”

“Another problem is the difference between wake-up and sleeping time compared to school days. This is having an ill effect on children. My son has changed drastically, becoming adamant like he was never before,” she adds.

Krishna G, a database security consultant in IBM, says: “I am concerned about children spending more screen time. Due to Work from Home, most parents are not able to restrict them from doing so. Children have also started to take studies lightly since it is online now.”

As a father, Krishna feels that it will be difficult for children to cope with post-covid-19 situations. “After spending more time at home, going to school after the pandemic will be difficult. So the teachers, as well as parents, should come up with plans to help them,” he notes.

Aghil P Komban, a University faculty member gives another perspective: “While we think of ways to mainstream children’s voices in the city, we also need to reflect on how familiar they are with the local.”

He elaborates, “With familiarity comes belongingness. If they don’t feel this belongingness, why would they even bother to voice out! Redefining the global to include the local would encourage them to engage with the city in multiple mainstream ways.”