Date: Monday, 4th, January, 2021

Over the weekend we in Britain have seen the rising crisis debate/argument about COVID-19, children and the dangerous effects for their long term health due to all the school closures.  But what about their future and ways to heal and strengthen the health of all our children?  Is that to be discussed now while we have time to prepare or later when we have time to squander and do nothing?

Numerous recent press report on the state of children and their lack of schooling have highlighted assorted challenges and I believe we ought to be planning on ways to compensate for and repair the mental and physical damage caused during the last year.  If we act with some intelligence (stop laughing at the back) we might be in a position to take corrective action over the summer as the world finally comes out of the peaks of this tragic time.

The key issues raised during this crisis have been:-

1. Inadequate Education

The lack of good formal education during school closures and all the isolated “bubbling” of children, the lack of facilities to provide online schooling and the resulting weakness in some course presentations throughout this period.

Suggestion: A higher intensity remedial programme of education and practical training, extending the school time schedules into the normal summer breaks and giving teachers the resources needed to make up for all the lost time.

2. Physical Health

Locked down for long periods has denied many children the physical experiences they get from school and likely effected their diets, their physical health, well-being and even the resistance to disease that can come from physical fitness.

Suggestion: Use the forthcoming summer to create a physical sports and fitness programme to engage all children in activity throughout the day for as many weeks as possible, extending into evenings and weekends where practical.

3. Mental Health

We’ve all been driven mental by this zombie apocalypse and it’s not likely to get better any time soon, so programmed and organisational options must be explored to improve the mental health of our children and give them the strength to handle this challenge and all those to-come.

We could adopt a “group-hug” mentality and some fluffy therapists to tell children to buck up their ideas but that’s daft. 

The earlier two options, education and physical, lend themselves to various ways to engage children in improving their mental fitness and coping skills, for example: brighter and older children guided and supervised, to help weaker and younger children during the catch-up schools programmes to improve self-confidence and interpersonal skills; the physical fitness programmes and activities could, if organised well, contribute to general states of well-being amongst children and perhaps reinforced over several years, at least, to become a habit of confident skill.

Additionally the tremendous benefits in just getting together for sport, play, adventure, school work, can be as important as everything else in improving social skills, in friendships, in just getting out from under mums’ feet and talking about their experiences.

Overall we face further crises to-come and the challenges of overcoming them. Now is the time to consider and plan for these challenges and the opportunities to overcome them and make our society healthier, saner, stronger.

We must not allow ourselves to just muddle through.

I may have a solution to all this in my own areas of the North West, but this will depend on sufficient public support.  I will dwell on this in the next few weeks.

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