Children Are Becoming More Resourceful Amid the Pandemic

With more free time on their hands, many kids are learning to become independent

child cooking with parent
Many kids are leaning new skills amid the pandemic.
Getty Images/Cavan Images RF

While being homebound amid the pandemic has felt limiting for those of us used to roaming about the world at will, for children, pandemic lockdowns have actually presented a newfound sense of independence. Free of the restraints of the physical classroom, many young students are exercising a level of freedom they wouldn’t have had under rigid school schedules and the watchful eyes of educators. But lest you fear a roving band of unsupervised children is about to terrorize the neighborhood, it seems most kids are actually exercising their independence responsibly, and experts say it could be a positive thing for their growth and development.

“All too often before the pandemic, kids got a hall pass from learning life skills because they always had to rush off to soccer practice or karate,” Jennifer Joy Madden, founder of resiliency development program The Durable Human, told Insider. With more free time at home, however, many kids are learning to set their own schedules, and finding time to take on new responsibilities, whether it’s making lunch, completing chores or simply learning to entertain themselves unsupervised.

“Independence is a critical developmental skill for children to learn because it leads to positive growth, behaviorally, socially, emotionally, and mentally,” said pediatrician Hokehe Effiong. “Independence fuels self-reliance, which is an important social skill for children to develop, to have some control over their lives while also learning to handle stress and failure.”

Meanwhile, parents are learning that lengthening the leash might be a good thing for them, too. After watching her daughter learn how to prepare basic meals for herself during the pandemic and seeing her son’s growing sense of responsibility over keeping the playroom clean, one mother told Insider she “realized that giving my kids freedom is not a bad thing and they handle it well,” adding that she drew inspiration from none other than Elon Musk’s mother, calling Mommy Musk’s memoir “transformational.”

Whether raising mini Elon Musks is among your parenting goals or not, giving your kids space to grow and learn amid the pandemic is probably good for everyone involved — just don’t mock them for not knowing how to use a can opener.

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