February 8, 2021
It’s hard to know how the pandemic will affect children’s development in the long-run. But living through such a life-changing year will most definitely teach them to accept and embrace change.
“Emotional development is one of those areas where you always continue learning because humans change and the world changes,” Dominguez said. “Children are resilient, and it’s amazing what they can go through. They’re forced into another level of maturity not necessarily because they chose that, but because that is their reality.”
Both Ghaffari and Dominguez aren’t too concerned about dramatic overall emotional consequences for children from the pandemic, but they are aware of a number of small-scale ones. For example, after being constantly reminded to wash their hands and wear their masks, kids may value sanitation more.
We — non-professional high school seniors — have some predictions of practices that might create lasting impacts. For example, we grew up learning “sharing is caring,” but young kids are being taught to “keep their hands to themselves” during the pandemic because of the significant consequences of spreading germs.
“We’re going to have a generation that is a lot more careful about germs because when you’re little, and you learn things for the first time, they stay with you,” Dominguez said. “If this is the world they’re living in, these are going to be the young adults that walk around with hand sanitizer and are very careful about things because their brain is being wired right now.”
Although the pandemic has dramatically altered children’s day-to-day lives for nearly a year, Dominguez, Ghaffari and Carlson are hopeful that children will come out of it healthy, with a life lesson or two.
“I try to reassure families that the most important thing is to keep them healthy right now and not worry so much,” Ghaffari said. “If we can still keep everybody healthy, then moving forward, the empathy, sense of community and connectedness will grow.”