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My son was very comfortable taking off his mask in school and did so as soon as he was able. But a few of his friends are reluctant to and I’m worried about how that they still feel so unsafe. My son isn’t one to shun anyone for their decision but I do feel like the longer it goes on, the more ridicule these friends might get from others. I’m just curious if any one else has dealt with these kinds of issues recently.
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What a stressful and nervous time we are all living in and children have had to face challenges and situations that we never imagined. I think that many adults are still feeling nervous about returning to normal and this will be picked up on by their children. It is certainly an issue about feeling safe and comfortable and I have noticed that my children are more germ conscious than i ever thought possible. I have had to hide the hand sanitiser in our home as it was being drastically overused.
Basically, it is going to take time to return to normal and each family will experience their own journey so its best to teach our own kids empathy, kindness and respect rather than trying to worry about the choices that others are making for themselves.
Choosing to remove a mask or not is not always about whether or not a person feels safe. It can also be because of a sense of social responsibility, especially where they live with or visit a person who is elderly or at a high risk of severe complications due to co-morbidities or chronic health conditions. Your son is fortunate that he feels confident and comfortable enough to remove his mask, but kids who do not feel this way should not be ridiculed, shunned, or shamed. Being able to make personal choices about your own health and safety should be encouraged. We should normalise (as many east asian nations do), wearing masks when ill ourselves, or during peak respiratory illness seasons.
The world is not yet back to "normal" and research is only now beginning to look at the possible consequences of repeated infections and the effects of long term post-acute sequelae. I agree with Nabila that adults play a big role in how well children are able to transition and adapt to changes as they occur, and as such they should be ensuring that children are able to feel safe (however that may look to them), that they receive emotional and psychosocial support if they need it, and that classmates and peers remain encouraging and respectful of one another's choices.
Oh yes, children are responding differently to the lifting of restrictions.
It basically depends on what they have experienced during last two years. Families where members contracted COVID 19, children tend to be more careful. I have seen kids who have lost dear ones, their fear and hesitation to go back to normal life is quite understandable.
Some children are more fearful of disease and germs, they might also take some time to leave their mask. In certain cases children might only be following the guidelines given by their parents (because parents themselves are reluctant in removing masks).
I think parents and school management can play an important role in helping children transition back to normal routine. Some children just need a reassurance that it is now safe to take off masks. Inviting a doctor to the class or showing informative videos can be helpful. Teacher can even give an assignment asking children to search the latest guidelines by WHO (world health organization) for their region and write a paragraph about it.
It has been difficult for everyone. We need to support each other so we can come back towards normal life.