Right Start Blog

The Positive Impacts of COVID

By: Susan Walter
Fourth grade teacher Susan Walter shares what her students have taught her about resilience and having a positive outlook, even during a pandemic.
As a teacher, am often asked about the negative effects this pandemic has had on our children, and I think I surprise people when I answer positively. During our last remote learning session, my class discussed our feelings about the changes we have experienced, and it was enlightening how candid my students were about their feelings and ideas. I expected a discussion of the negative aspects of COVID, but, surprisingly, there were many more positive comments than negative ones. To name a few:

  • My students felt that their typing and computer skills have greatly improved. They are practicing different ways to learn that they feel will benefit them later in their education: “I totally get Google Classroom! It keeps me so organized!”  
  • Many recognized how much more independent they have become as learners: “I know how to check for my assignments and complete them on time.”
  • My students have enjoyed spending more time with their families and pets, and have devoted more time to hobbies. My favorite shares were from students who are learning to cook. “I can make a pie!”, one proudly exclaimed. Others have learned to make coffee for their parents, cook their favorite grilled cheese sandwich, and make popcorn without burning it. Oh, and by the way: Our children love that they get a nice hot lunch at home!  

I feel our children have been resilient in their adaptation to remote learning and more technology in the classroom - probably much more so than we adults. As teachers and parents gradually became used to the new “normal,” our children noticed our shoulders relaxing and us adapting to our new time together. 

While we all look forward to getting back to our “normal” lifestyles, please keep in mind that our children love the time we spend with them. During the pandemic, many families have spent more time together--and our children liked it. Don’t be in a rush to overbook your child as you might have in the past. My mother was so wise in telling me, “Susan, it is OK to be bored.” 
Here are some of my favorite family bonding activities:
  • Make having breakfast and dinner together part of your daily routine. This is an important time to sit and chat and talk to your children about how they are feeling. 
  • Remember the fun, creative things you can do on the weekends, such as having a picnic outdoors or sitting in the driveway watching passersby.
  • Pick a hue and have the whole family dress in bright colors once a week.  
  • Choose a DIY or clean-up project that everyone can be involved in, such as re-organizing a room or painting an old table and chairs. 
  • Ask everyone to suggest a new dish to cook each week and involve your child in the planning and cooking of the meal. 
  • Find movies and video games you can all enjoy indoors, and play games outdoors such as hide and seek, Frisbee, soccer, cricket, or football. 
  • Dance to your favorite music and don’t be afraid to be super silly. It’s a great way to have a laugh and get some exercise at the same time. Kids love a good dance party! 
  • Have a spa day and give each other a manicure, massage, or skin treatment. 
  • Schedule a standing phone or video chat with family members.
It’s normal for us all to want to rush to get back to the way things used to be, but let’s not forget what we have learned through these trying times and continue to enjoy our families and the creative ways we have spent time together. As the mother of a daughter who will soon turn 30, take it from me: Our children grow up so quickly and leave our homes to begin their busy lives. Cherish the family time!

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