You’d Never Guess How Lockdown Has Changed Family Behaviour
With the myriad of challenges experienced from the Covid pandemic’s emergence, most people devise survival tactics and new coping mechanisms, especially for new parents during the lockdown.
With the use of data from Google Trends and Google Keyword Planner, research shows that this pandemic continues to impact lifestyles, forcing many to develop new ways of doing business, engaging in entertainment and raising their children.
Located 39km northwest of London, Hemel Hempstead is the second largest town after Watford in Hertfordshire. The town has witnessed an increase in Google searches related to start-ups, investment opportunities and coping mechanisms during the lockdown period. Google Trends came in handy to find the average search interest and what people were mostly searching for during the lockdown period.
The Google Keyword Planner is also beneficial in discovering new keywords and their impact on businesses. For instance, the possibility of knowing how many people got married was easier, which areas the registered population increased or which businesses closed shop and how many new businesses came into existence.
The year 2020 has been one of the most challenging. It has caused many people to lose jobs, businesses have shut down, and others face a financial crisis. However, for others, the pandemic period brought opportunities as some couples formalised their unions and others became new parents.
From the onset of coronavirus, many parents are at an awkward place wondering how they can engage their children without school activities, parties, outdoor games or sightseeing. Although restrictions have been put in place, many parents are extremely cautious about which activities are safe for their children.
The unfortunate thing about a crisis is that it exacerbates inequalities that expose negative outcomes such as stress-related diseases. The current need for social distance, isolation and ultimate lockdown continues to minimise children’s visibility creating additional challenges.
Studying Hemel Hempstead, minimal capacity and closure of major support infrastructure and institutions, children are more vulnerable, leading to a rise in the number of children on child protection, thus flooding the system with numerous court cases.
With the need for isolation, home visits, follow-ups, and child assessment, infection risk is adding to the challenge. Therefore, further consultation among stakeholders is needed to brainstorm and come up with solutions to address these challenges.
Unfortunately, with isolation, perpetrators of abuse continue to take advantage and abuse children. As the world battles to contain coronavirus, isolation has produced a challenge of tensions in the family brought about by forced confinement with the many deaths, loss of livelihoods, and infection rate increasing by the minute.
The challenges presented to highlight the importance of continued support for children and their families by implementing digital technology such as online guides and toolkits for children. Parents and guardians should be attentive and sensitive to prospective signs and messages from children.
The negative constant and prolonged news about infections, sickness and ultimate death can be traumatizing for children, and therefore, caregivers should intentionally speak to children about the Covid-19, recognizing their doubts, addressing their worries and responding to their queries in a language they can comprehend.
Additionally, with prolonged staying at home with limited activities, children spend more time on their devices seeking friendship and entertainment. Although this may be valuable, it poses a risk of online abuse and exploitation. Online safeguarding is paramount, with parents and guardians having a huge responsibility to ensure they have adequate skills and ability to assess online risks.
With many parks and playgrounds, Hemel Hempstead has plenty of space for children to enjoy. However, with the coronavirus’s challenges, outdoor activities may not be so appealing for parents to take their children outside willingly.
Luckily, Dacorum has a wide range of indoor activities such as indoor games, craft facilities, theatres, and cinemas, not excluding more engaging games like indoor skating. With the relevant authority’s daily coronavirus briefings, it is now a regular broadcast with parents facing more questions from their children about when this will end.
Many laws and regulations, such as the Coronavirus Act, have been passed by the UK parliament in 2020 to address and contain the pandemic. Although challenging, parents can use this opportunity to teach their children many important life skills and take time to bond and understand their children.
The United Kingdom parliament education team has compiled guidelines using videos and resource packs to teach children about the UK parliament. Also, you have an opportunity to go on a virtual tour of parliament together as a family and get a glimpse inside the historic Commons and Lords debating Chambers and making discoveries along the way.
Additionally, you will see the famous St Stephen Hall and Westminster Hall, which carry many historical facts for children to learn.
Many organizations specializing in children’s needs, such as The Children’s Club, are devising ways of engaging children positively by creating short clip videos of fun activities parents can involve their children.
With the ease of the pandemic restrictions, children who have been away from friends for prolonged periods mingle together under close supervision. With many childcare institutions willing to adhere to government-laid guidelines and protocols, children can relax and enjoy themselves in safe environments.
As life begins to return to normalcy slowly, child play centres can operate through at a greatly reduced capacity to allow for social distancing. Though restrictive, children have an opportunity to have fun and enjoy their childhood. Business owners, however, have the complex task of ensuring new regulations such as distancing, online booking procedures and implementation of thorough sanitisation.
Additional activities you could implement include storytelling, reading together, learning songs, singing as a family, drawing and colouring or solving crossword puzzles. Spending more time with your children will help you know them better, understand their strengths and weaknesses and help them develop their talents.
Allow your child to choose activities they would like to engage in to keep them interested. Keep learning interesting and fun, noting that younger children have a short attention span and may lose interest quickly.