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Cushion the impact of the pandemic

By Captain Mahmood Al Mahmood

I was having an interesting conversation with a school principal last week.

It seems, there has been a marked decline in student performance after schools reopened to in-person classes in the post-pandemic months.

The youngsters had simply lost the practice and discipline of classroom behavior – whether paying attention to teachers or getting along with fellow-students or staying away from devices, these youngsters are having to relearn a whole new pattern of conduct.

While the older students still have a fallback recall of the world as it was pre-pandemic, those below the age of 7 are struggling to copy.

They have no memory of school life and have simply been thrust into the thick of things from first or second grade.

Teachers say these post-pandemic classes are tough because the kids ask for a break every fifteen or twenty minutes, they want their smartphones with them to browse the net and the end result is much lower grades than before.

How can we help these children to re-learn the old classroom values? I think parents play a major role in this re-engineering.

To begin with, we need to wean our children from an addiction to devices. Limit the time spent on TV, laptops, tablets and phones. Give the children a quiet zone of at least three hours before sleep time, which is device-free.

Now, here is the rub – this means you, the parent too will have to set aside your electronic devices and focus on communicating with your kids.

Are you up to it? Give your child simple concentration exercises and activities – jigsaw puzzles, reading and painting are great ways to train the mind to focus.

All these will translate into better classroom conduct and better absorption of lessons. Let us all do our best to cushion the impact of the pandemic for our little ones.