There are of course not many upsides to a global pandemic, but one of them may be that the single biggest threat to youth wellbeing is lessened.
Founders of free-play advocacy organisation Let Grow, Lenore Skenazy and Peter Gray, point out that anxiety is an already huge problem for young people that has also been snowballing in severity and prevalence.
They attribute this trend to the increasing tendency for young people to be constantly supervised and micromanaged by their parents, to the extent that they can’t build up self-confidence by choosing for themselves what to do and figuring out how to do it.
By contrast, during the coronavirus lockdown in America they’ve noticed that both the ability and willingness of parents to schedule their children’s time has been massively curtailed. The result is that even when confined to their homes, kids have far more unstructured time to play, develop interests and otherwise do things on their own.
Through their work with Let Grow, Lenore and Peter have found kids in their program benefit significantly in terms of wellbeing from spending just a little time on unstructured activity. They also point to research indicating that kids develop executive functioning skills given free time.
Because of this, they predict that many kids will actually benefit from the conditions imposed by the lockdown despite all the negatives. It would be an unexpected positive, but a welcome one nonetheless.
Read the full article by Lenore Skenazy and Peter Gray: Coronavirus is providing the course correction kids desperately needed
Feature image source: Pixabay