The toddlers during the pandemic need special attention
Tabassum Tahmina Shagufta Hussein/ The International Fellow 2020 of The International Human Rights Arts Festival(IHRAF)
Lockdown babies or toddlers are not used to seen or interacting with the people during the pandemic. How does one change that? Now, the vaccination is available, and there is a sense of relief. But to sort out the problems during the lockdown, we need to look back. First of all, we need to know these children’s pandemic journey. Toddlers have to be under the lockdown and that they have seen only their parents and family members. They are used to the only familiar faces and haven’t seen any new faces. The toddlers who have been going to schools, going to the activities, going to the play area, interacting with the friend circles or going to the park, and suddenly all changed since March 2020. The babies cannot see the faces of the extended family members and friend circles of their parents. But there has been a shift in the lives of the toddlers. A toddler who is meeting only two or three adults doesn’t have too many social engagements. When social skills are learned, and they are learnable depending on the child’s temperament and how many opportunities they get to know it. So, one would imagine that when the world opens up and the child has the opportunity to slowly in bite-size pieces meet other people, they will take some time over it, but social skills are learned, and they will learn eventually. The older children who have been in lockdown say three or four or five might have a period of aggression where they have forgotten or lost those skills. But the development isn’t linear. It is forward and backward. We learn stuff, and we lose it. So how to make toddlers get used to people. Because toddlers may behave awkwardly after being home for a more extended period. The first step should be interacting with similar age children with mandatory safety measures. Secondly, might be during night time stories talking about the people they have met. Experts say that a child seeks a safe environment with a sense of security and happy parents. But it becomes tedious if the COVID fatigue sets in. In the family, the parents are the who the kids want to interact with. If fifteen minutes in a day of exclusive time for the child but regularly so every day even ten to fifteen minutes can make a massive difference to parent’s relationship with the child and the child’s sense of security and stimulation. Increased screen time is the most children have happily embraced as parents get some quiet time. Screens are complicated. Now with the zoom school, the fact is children need something to engage them at home. They have online games. It is hard to translate learning the online and, in a way, its unnatural. It is also unnatural that a toddler sitting in front of a screen and focusing on it. And it is expected from the parents. But with such an unprecedented situation, it can go for an extended time.
Parents and toddlers must know that it is the most manageable thing in the pandemic; even elder kids can develop complications. For children over five years, their needs are more complex. There is a phase where they learn a lot more; they are using their bodies, whether it’s like swinging or hanging upside down or kicking a ball and running. These activities are not possible during the lockdown, and that group has suffered frustration. It’s like they are ready and juiced up with no place for that juice to go, so that age group and their struggle are far more visible. What to do with these toddlers. Perhaps engaging them with colouring, LEGO and image card activities, and dedicated quality time from the parents. We need to remember that toddlers are resilient, and all they want is a caring environment and some real-life, bed stories to remind them about the art of socializing. And the real people exist outside the screen and their parent’s virtual life. Notably, the most imperative thing is the engagement between toddlers and their parents. It is vital that the parents need to forget about their cell phone and social media addiction for a while. Paying attention and spending quality time with them in what form it may be. The teens’ parents seem to be detached and distant, which are evident from the heinous incidents taking place around the country. The teens’ parents come up with reasons like the generation gap, being not tech-savvy and the lack of time. For toddlers, these reasons sound like a pathetic excuse. Toddlers’ parents who have been confined in the house for almost a year need to address them. Such as social regression they might be facing and their mental health. It is high time to pay heed to these issues. After taking safe and effective vaccination provided by the State, it is time to address these new issues, which are the pandemic results. Ponder your thoughts for future generation rather than spending time on social media and creating a storm in the teacups on flam conspiracy theories and propaganda.
She is the Bangla Translator for Point -Edition, an initiative of ITHACA Foundation, Spain and a contributor of Different Truths Publication, India.