Saturday, April 13, 2024

Raising our Children in a Pandemic.

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( 2020 has been fraught with challenges and obstacles that none of us saw coming. This year produced more disastrous events, man-made and natural, that have tested every home, family, and community. However, a pandemic ravaging each corner of the world was nothing anyone could have predicted. As if the world wasn’t already dangerous enough now there’s an invisible threat to our personal well-being that can only be prevented by following social distancing guidelines, wearing face masks, and using common sense with personal hygiene.

This life event is heightened to an alarming level when you have little ones. Children are the ones we worry about the most when sickness becomes the bane of our existence. Their immune systems always seem to soak up whatever the illness is like a sponge and projectile launch it into our homes stronger than what it was before. Parents have been faced with decisions that they’ve never had to make before as far as the safety of their children.

covid 2020 - black family

Keeping children clean is one of the most challenging jobs. However, …

to combat the disease, we have had to be diligent in cleaning not only our bodies but our living spaces. We have had to teach children as young as two to wash their hands and that they cannot touch anything that has not been washed down and sanitized. Not that it is a problem, just that basic life skills have had to be taught and learned much sooner. Children have also had to learn to wear a face mask before they learn to count or say their own names. A new normal of mothers in the grocery store fighting with their toddler to keep their mask on had emerged as this virus lingers. It has even tossed childcare routines into disarray and put a damper on the education of our children as models of what distance learning will look like begin to emerge. Parents and educators have had to make concessions that they never saw coming to better serve their little scholars as they pursue academic endeavors. Work schedules must be altered or completely removed to care for children. Parents and guardians with school aged children certainly felt the sting in the spring when schools were abruptly shut down and no one knew when they would be able to return. The situation created another problem as many parents now had to stay home and were responsible for helping their child with school work. At one point, this spring, it seemed like parents all over the country had a newfound respect for their child’s teacher because they saw first hand what their child struggled with, or how much of a struggle their child could be in a classroom when work is presented to them. While other parents saw just how bright their child was and how flawed the education system was in the delivery of instruction by frustrated teachers who were and are adjusting to reach every child they could.

In our homes, we are usually multigenerational caregivers. This simply means that our houses are filled with individuals that represent each stage of life from infancy to elderly. Many times, grandparents are the main caregiver when parents have to work or are absent from the homes. When the virus first emerged, we saw that the elderly were the most vulnerable because their immune systems are the most compromised especially if they have a pre-existing condition as is the case in most minority communities. African American communities were hit the hardest as we lead the country in that category and most of the time don’t have access to proper healthcare. With an illness such as COVID-19, it creates a certain difficulty that will always trouble Black and other minority communities if it continues and we don’t take the necessary precautions. With our elderly being at risk, we have had to limit our children’s contact with our elders to keep both sides safe which ultimately hurts because those two generations are so interconnected and important for the survival of our community.

While raising our children in this pandemic, we have had to limit who we allow in our home. Being from the south, Sunday dinner is a ritual that feeds your soul and recharges you as we come together to fellowship. COVID-19 has placed limits on the number of people we allow into our homes and makes you think twice about who you allow around your children. Parents are less likely now to allow extended family into the home to prevent themselves and their little one’s exposure. These limitations place a huge damper on the social interactions that children have that allow them to relax and be carefree.

Raising children in this pandemic has created circumstances that have taught us to be more vigilant in our pursuit of keeping them healthy, but it has also given us time to get to know our children. It has forced us to observe them and pay special attention to their actions as well as our own in rearing them. Cross-country lockdowns gave us unprecedented opportunities to bond with our children and get to know them outside of the basic question, “How was school today?” Who knows, maybe this pandemic will make our familial ties stronger than ever before.

Staff Writer; Jessieca Carr

One may connect with this sister online over at Instagram; susiecarmichael1920 and Twitter; noladarling1920.

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