As the Health and Wellness Educator, I’ve been part of many conversations about how to best support children’s mental health during this difficult time. Parents, caregivers, and even educators are desperate for tips to meet the social and emotional needs of their children, who are missing their friends, teachers, extended families, and everyday freedoms. I’d like to provide an objective view on some of the tips and resources so many organizations have been sharing to help support children’s well-being during the pandemic.
When you’re working from home with kids, it’s hard to separate work life and family life. I entered into this new social construct with all the optimism I could muster, for which I blame my midwestern roots. I give myself a gold star for having a mindful approach to this new unknown. My daughter and I made a schedule and brainstormed activity ideas, but unfortunately, the reality isn’t matching up to our initial sunny outlook. If you, too, are working remotely with your kids as your new coworkers, maybe you can relate.
As the Senior Director of STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, and math) at Boston Children’s Museum, I often find myself looking for the STEAM connections in any given situation, and these connections abound within our current global health crisis. Amid the sobering statistics and updates, there are some brilliant glimmers of hope. Here are my thoughts on some of the silver linings that this time may have on the future of STEAM education.
I was so pleased to sit down with Sherry Turkle’s thought-provoking new book, “Reclaiming Conversation.” Through her research, Turkle, an author, professor, and member of Boston Children’s Museum’s advisory board, explores in the book how quick “sips” of conversation— texts, emails, Tweets, posts, etc.—are replacing meaningful conversations, and the negative effects of this shift are becoming more and more evident. I was particularly struck by the consequences the decline in conversation is having on children.