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This is the question being explored by Children’s Parliament. Since the start of the lockdown we have been engaging children aged eight to 14 in a conversation about their experiences of the virus and of lockdown. From questions and worries, to learning at home, to family and peer relationships, to health and wellbeing, children have been responding in large numbers to a monthly wellbeing survey. Now, in June 2020, the 3rd monthly survey has been launched and a report on the findings from April and May has been published.
What are we finding so far? When it comes to learning at home, and as time passes, children are reporting less choice and a declining sense of fun or pride in work and increased levels of boredom. Meanwhile they are increasingly worried about doing schoolwork and learning at home. Older children, 12 to 14 years old, are less likely to see learning at home positively. Of real concern is that children are indicating a decline in mental wellbeing; fewer generally feel cheerful and in a good mood and they have less energy. Children are increasingly feeling lonely and less sure that in difficult times they will be okay; this is particularly true for girls, and especially for girls aged 12 to 14. On the positive side the best support children can draw on is identified as their parents and carers.
In Scotland, we are now preparing for incorporation of the UNCRC. Our Government is committed to maintaining the timetable set for that, even in current circumstance. But our survey tells us that children report increasing difficulty in accessing information, expressing their opinions and feeling that they experience their rights. All in all these are difficult times for everyone, but we must give our attention to the lived experience of our children and ensure that we do not only mitigate those worrying trends in health and wellbeing but attend to their basic human rights.
Help get children involved in our June survey: bit.ly/Coronavirus_Kids
Other articles published in June 2020 newsletter.