The lockdown implies that parents and children are spending most of their time in close proximity to one another. Personal space, privacy, and quiet times are hardly possible and difficult to happen between members living together, especially in large families.
As an educator working with special needs cases for almost five years, I have had the opportunity to instruct a diverse student population, including those who have ADD/ADHD, autism, developmental delays, learning disabilities, non-compliant behavior, and physical challenges. In fact, I find it difficult to detach myself from all what is happening inside our Moroccan families during these lockdown episodes. From a humble perspective, I would like to share my experience and disseminate awareness of how to get to a healthy post lockdown and help our children rejuvenate from its pressure.
It is normal that more arguments are being created during the lockdown than ever for the simple reason that people, in general, tend to take their frustrations out on those closest to them.
Children of all age groups might be the first afflicted category by this anxiety, undoubtedly needing careful consideration and awareness. Adolescents are mostly known to enjoy aloofness and tend, for example, to burst out misunderstandings and arguments more often with their parents and siblings over certain trivialities causing more tension and anxiety. Lack of communication and patience are significantly becoming a gaping hole day after day.
Parents, on the other hand, find it challenging as well to have their finger in too many pies and adapt themselves to this new situation, between managing and supervising the homeschooling of the kids and dealing with housework responsibilities and home hygiene. Not to mention the fact that many parents have little or no knowledge at all of how distance learning works and how to assist their kids throughout this process.
Dealing with husband-wife matters in the most decent way possible might be another everyday wear and tear. In most Moroccan families, the latter is barely impossible. Parents who normally avoid arguing with one another when their kids around tend to find it very challenging now with the lockdown. We find that children during the lockdown get to hear and be psychologically and mentally affected by all their parents’ disputes and quarrels.
Due to all these tensions, managing one’s anger is becoming more challenging. Magnifying banalities is eventually being easier and quite common nowadays.
Moral support, understanding, and endorsement of our kids can undoubtedly be a key ingredient to rekindle and transition back to school after the lockdown.
The educational psychologist Robyn Stead suggested some tips to gradually use. We can, certainly, adopt these examples to suit our Moroccan situation. Although returning to schools in Morocco would be sometime in the next academic year, we can always use Stead’s advice for both our students/children preparing to sit for their final exams as well as for those waiting for the next scholastic year.
Giving your kids the floor to express themselves and share their fears would be the best starting point. As Stead asserts, listening to what they have to say about the lockdown, COVID-19 and their school would give them reassurance and comfort. As the Swedish proverb says: “Shared joy is a double joy; shared sorrow is half sorrow”. Sometimes, the best way to talk is to listen. In this way, we will help them clear up their minds and unlock their potentials. Giving them the chance to share their concerns and worries would, undoubtedly, be a bonus point in rejuvenating our relationship with them and in avoiding misunderstandings.
The use of a problem-solving approach was Stead’s second tip. Encouraging your kids to find possible answers to the questions they have on this lockdown or a possible solution to their concern might be another encouraging point. Part of the solution is in the problem itself; hence, encouraging your children to depend on their mental capacities would give them more self-esteem and poise.
Staying positive and encouraging your children to recall all they like at school is the third tip. In fact, the lockdown can be a switch-off button to our kids’ motivation towards school. Being exposed to different media channels can have a considerable impact on their minds as well. Henceforth, inviting your children to voice out all what they like or miss about school, friends or teachers can be a good boost preparing them for post lockdown.
It is true that the current situation is certainly not easy for either grown-ups or children, however, as teachers, parents, or Moroccan citizens in general, we are responsible for relieving any doubt or fear from our kids’ minds.
Working together to support our children/students is a must and the best resort. As our famous Morocco proverb goes “a hand over a hand is a boon, a cheek over a check is a bane. “يد على يد نعمة و حنك على حنك نقمة”