By Sally S. Creed, LPC-S, RPT-S
Everyone’s world turned upside down around March 20, 2020, when the world as we know it basically shut down. When I realized that I could not go to my office to see clients, I quickly took the required classes to be certified to do telemental health. I continued to see clients online at home and (though it was difficult at first) we all grew accustomed to meeting online. We were told we couldn’t leave our houses except for emergencies. We learned how to wear masks everywhere we went. Businesses were basically shut down. Everyone old and young said that they had never experienced anything like this before. It wasn’t just a pandemic. It was worldwide pandemonium.
I was concerned about all the kids I worked with. I was able to actually have play sessions with some of them online even though it wasn’t the same. Many of them had increased fear and anxiety because they didn’t understand what was going on. Then, in early April, I developed COVID. Thankfully, I had a mild case and was able to continue working. I was told by everyone I knew that I was the only one they knew who had it. I believe the children who met with me were comforted to know that I had it and would recover. In a small way, it helped them relax just a little.
Now that I’m back in the office and seeing kids there, I have started talking with them about what this has been like for them – especially the quarantine months of April and May. In spite of the fact that COVID has been a terrible pandemic, it’s always good to try to focus on the good things about it and lessons we can learn from it. Here are comments I have heard from young and older kids about why COVID (and being quarantined) was good:
Regarding the hectic schedule kids used to have: “I loved being made to stay home;” “I got a break from ‘you gotta come, you gotta go, you gotta do’—I didn’t have to constantly go from one place to another;” “It was a good break from my routine;” “I felt like I could relax;” “At school, my mind was going all the time and I felt like I could never rest my mind;” “There was no rushing to places anymore.”
Regarding school (for those who still attended online school): “School was better at home, because it was much quieter at home and I could focus better;” “I could take my time when I needed to figure out problems instead of always being timed;” “I liked ‘going’ to school in my pajamas (online);” “I actually learned more by staying at home because I could remember more than I would normally at school.”
Regarding family: “It was nice having my family at home;” “I liked doing things together with my family;” “We played games together and it was really fun;” “I liked to go bike riding with my family – we rarely used to do that;” “I felt like I got my family back.”
If parents stop and look at the past few months from the perspective of kids, they may realize that it was a much needed break from their hectic lives. Now that things are starting to open up again, it may help us to reorganize our priorities and do our best to spend more time with our children. Even a once-a-week family night where families relax and play games together is enough to help kids relax and have fun. And you parents probably need (and deserve) a relaxing and fun time, too.
“Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”
~ Matthew 11:28 (NIV)
Sally Scott Creed is a Licensed Professional Counselor-Supervisor and Registered Play Therapist-Supervisor who has been working with children and families for over 25 years. She has two adult children and resides in Lafayette with her husband.