What is the “new normal”?
As more and more people get vaccinated in many countries, the world seems to be slowly waking up from its Pandemic lockdowns and restrictions. Many of us are working hard to try to get back to “normal” mentally, socially, and economically. Of course, the idea of “normal” might vary and we might think that things will not, or might not, go back to pre-COVID times. To me, sadly, the “carefree” days of walking on the streets without a mask, shaking hands with others, hugging a friend I bumped into at the park, even eating an ice-cream while walking in the street, can no longer be taken for granted. Questions of social etiquettes such as “should I keep wearing a mask in public?”, or “would people look at me alarmingly if I eat while walking in public?” keep popping up in my mind. Re-introducing ourselves into society post-COVID, although sounds a bit silly, feels like a daunting task.
A silver lining
If we as adults can feel insecure about it, I can only imagine how scary it must be for children to emerge from the Pandemic. With sporadic lockdowns and ever-changing social-distancing guidelines, the sense of stability children need is lost and things can be so confusing for them. But the silver lining from this pandemic for many kids could be more family time with their parents. This article identified many aspects of what families went through during the past one and a half years, the pros and cons and the dilemmas we all faced at one point or another.
No perfect answer
With vaccination rate slowly climbing, many schools around the world are planning to hold face-to-face classes after the summer, and companies are starting to jump-start their business activities again. It is time to get ourselves and our children physically and psychologically prepared for what’s coming up next. This Summer could be a good transition period for all of us to do just that, slowly but steadily. I guess the first concerns many parents have when they need to go back to their full-time jobs in the office, is what would happen to their kids. Should they be sent back to the day care? How likely will they be exposed to the danger of COVID-19 while they spend their playtime / naptime there? Are the schools doing enough to safeguard the children’s health? There is never a correct or satisfactory answer to each of these questions and most parents in the world are asking them! But we need to evaluate the risks and find ways within our capability to mitigate them, such as get ourselves and our children (age permitting) vaccinated. If the children are too young to be vaccinated, then at least we need to make sure their caretakers are.
There is still time to get prepared for post-COVID times and as long as we keep getting informed about the latest situation around us, I am sure we will find a way to get back to “the new normal”.