Home Engineer: Covid-19 has made school negotiable for children

Tuesday June 29 2021
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A little boy throwing a tantrum. Does anyone remember what the most dangerous artillery in our mothers' armoury was during our childhood years? FOTOSEARCH

By Nation. Africa

The Covid-19 pandemic has certainly become the greatest source of a majority of the problems virtually every human being around the world seems to be facing (save for the few Covid-19 billionaires that are). Forget the economic turmoil and the social realignments.

The pandemic has severely affected parenting routines for most of us. Looking back pre-pandemic, actually no, looking back pre-this-generation, our parents woke us up even before the cocks crowed and much as we dragged ourselves out of the comfort of our warm beds, we barely dared to muster a refusal to go to school.


School attendance was non-negotiable and the best one we could pull was a feigned sickness once in a while which if we were unlucky we ended showing up at school with a note from Dad saying:

 “If she faints and looks like she isn’t going to make it, then and only then release her”. After toiling for months on end at what we felt was a prison sentence imposed upon us by our parents because they wanted us not, we finally got those few weeks of holiday. Even then, there was no staying home. Those danged tuition lessons constantly lay in wait in the shadows to jump out and ruin the tiny bit of escape we so much craved for. This was life, a 15-year or so prison sentence with no chance of escape. Forward a few years ahead and children of today are getting holiday breaks that last over three months, tuition is banned and the Covid-19 monster is swallowing up entire months of school. Way to go, children, these days care about the 7 pm news, selfishly.

Sweetest tune


The President’s voice is the sweetest tune to their ears as they peg every word on the hopes that another spike will hand to them the gift of freedom. But, jokes aside, while some school reluctance is normal, back-to-school struggles today have reached a whole new dimension. Reluctance by children to go to school has escalated into a more significant psychological problem, called school refusal. No thanks to the constant prolonged school absence, children are becoming severely distressed at the prospect of going back to school. If you are a parent and even more specifically a parent to a kindergarten child, you will know exactly what am talking about. Just when your child was finally settling down, making friends and adapting to her routine, boom the Covid-19 monster arises to reboot the cycle. The magic glue that is somehow only sticky on school days relents not in joining child to bed. Remember, this is the same child who on holiday is pulling open curtains at the break of dawn and screaming his favourite rhyme atop his lungs. If you somehow do manage to get the rug rat out of bed, be ready to contend with trying to stick a toothbrush in that tight shut mouth or getting them to sit on the toilet to do their business. Some of us, the unluckier ones, sit armed with a bowl in hand at the breakfast table lest the little one’s gag reflex kicks in making half an hour of Weetabix delivery left swimming around in your lap. When and IF you finally manage to get him to the school gate, the wailing leach readily puts on a show for everyone who cares to bother along with a devastating face of unwarranted tearful submission. So, looking back can we say that our days of education were less strenuous thanks to our parents’ strict no-nonsense attitude towards school? Were we more inclined to not rebel because we never found the time, moment or opportunity to? Is it Covid and its disruptions that are making our children’s refusal to attend a school such a nightmare? It could be multiple factors but one thing is for sure, for most of us, this school challenge has just begun.