Written: July 2020
Although we wrote this article early on in the coronavirus pandemic, it will still be helpful for your family as things continue to develop.
Coronavirus has thrown us all into situations we might never have thought we would be in, and in particular has understandably unsettled children all across the world.
Ebony*, 12, from London, shares her experiences during the pandemic, along with tips on what has worked for her. As a parent, you might read Ebony’s journey and see similarities in what your child has experienced, or perhaps it might have been the opposite - and that’s okay too - everyone has experienced coronavirus differently.
The pandemic has put us all into situations we have never seen before and we have all had individual experiences and reacted to them differently - particularly children. After reading Ebony’s journey, and the poem she wrote, consider reading it together with your child; asking them open questions along the way around how they felt at certain points during the lockdown. Ask them whether they too would like to write a poem like Ebony, or perhaps express themselves in another form suited to their creativity.
You can use this as an opportunity to explore what they might be feeling now, and to reflect on what they were feeling previously during the lockdown.
How did you feel first learning about coronavirus?
When I first heard the word, I didn’t really know what it was, so I wasnt that bothered by it. When I did properly learn about it, I was a little bit scared because it made me think wow, anyone could get it. And it made me think about things. What was scary was that it was making so many people unwell. I didn’t share my worries with my parents right away, I don’t know why.
How did you first feel about going into lockdown?
I was happy we were going into lockdown because I didn’t have to go to school. But a few weeks into lockdown I started to feel upset because I wanted to see my friends. I missed seeing them in person. I was so bored, I got frustrated quite a lot and I didn’t know why. I would have these random outbursts - little things would annoy me - little things my parents or brother would do would annoy me.
I was trying to figure out why I was getting so annoyed, and one day my mum spoke to me and explained that it could be frustrating to be in lockdown and so I thought it could explain why I was getting so annoyed. So I tried using different methods my mum taught me to help myself to calm down, for example, counting to 10 before reacting, other times, walking away from a situation, or trying to read a book to calm myself down - and it did help... but I was still really bored!
What were some of the things that helped you during lockdown?
My Phone, because I could talk to my friends who were going through the same things that I was going through which was cool cause I can relate to them. I also got to bond with my brother which I would not have usually been able to do. I suppose lockdown is kind of fun because of the people I am with (my family).
There was a point, when in the middle of lockdown I felt like I could not take it anymore because I felt like I just wanted to go to see my friends or go to McDonald’s but then I read my book which helped to distract me.
I also found that baking, talking with my friends and sewing helped me with my boredom. There were some days that I had finished all my work and did not know what to do so I went on the computer, played games, watched YouTube videos, went to the garden, played dress up or listened to music.
What advice would you give to others in the pandemic?
- If I was to give advice to anyone I would tell them it is not that bad and that it will be over soon
- Try to think about all the things that you want to do when lockdown and the pandemic is over because this helps to lighten the mood
- Try and make the best of the situation you are in - think of the positives, and don’t focus on the negatives too much
- Talk to your parents about your worries because it can help
- Try not to watch the news too much because it can be overwhelming
- Stay safe and socially distance yourself from people!
- I would say if these things don’t help, you should talk to your parents about what else can help
Lockdown means we need to stay home,
Whether you are with family or all alone.
At first it was really cool,
But then it got boring not being at school.
I don’t miss my teachers but I miss my friends,
I really want to know when this madness ends.
Me and my bestie are always talking,
Mum and dad even take me out walking.
The weather is nice, so I go out in the garden,
Whenever I burp dad tells me off for not saying pardon!
When I go back to school I might be in year 8
I don’t want to be in lockdown for that long, mate!
My birthday is in three days and I’m not excited…
This time last year I was overly delighted.
Mum says I’m living through a moment in history,
I wonder what will happen next, well that’s a mystery.
I miss going to McDonald’s after school
Or secretly going to the shopping mall.
However, this Coronavirus gives us lots of chances,
I can bake, read and learn new Tiktok dances.
- Ebony, age 12, London
*A model has been used in order to protect identities.