Emily Writes speaks to children throughout the country about how they’re feeling right now and what advice they might have for grown-ups.
The Spinoff’s coverage of the Covid-19 outbreak is funded by The Spinoff Members. To support this work, join The Spinoff Members here.
About one third of New Zealand households have children. And today those children are home. In the rush of experts talking about how to support children through this unprecedented lockdown I wondered: where are the voices of children?
I decided to have a chat to a couple of kids to ask them how they’re feeling and what we as adults can do to support them through this. I don’t think anyone is a better expert on what will help a child than the child themselves. So in the words of some of our country’s youngest people, here’s what it’s like living in lockdown and how parents can help make it a little easier.
India, ‘nearly 7’
Well, I’m pretty good with it. I’m not that worried about coronavirus because the prime minister and my mum and dad will protect me. That’s why we went into self-isolation. I would say to parents just to keep your kids away from school and leave them in their house for a very a long time. You can just say that everything will be fine if we don’t worry and we stay at home and wash our hands.
I kind of just don’t know what I think about it but I miss my friends and it feels kind of odd not going to school. I’m feeling like maybe a little anxious about some things like what might happen next. There were lots of events I was going to do that got cancelled. Keeping busy helps. As long as you’re doing fun things you don’t think about the virus. We have made kindness rocks and we’re going to give them to my friends. On their doorsteps. I think I would say to other kids, take this time to hang out with your mum and dad. Make memories.
My dump truck had to go into isolation in a garage because the truck has a cough and might have coronavirus.
I don’t like lockdown because I have to stay home. I don’t get to see my friends. I’m not scared about it. I watch television with my mama and dad I see the prime minister Jacinda and she’s looking after us. I like the prime minister. I’m excited that my nana bought me Lego and I get it this week. It makes me so sad I can’t cuddle her. That’s about it.
I feel it’s just an excuse to play games. I’m not thinking about the virus. I hope that all the stuff goes back to normal but school doesn’t go back.
It’s pretty annoying. Everything that I like to do is being cancelled like all my sports and stuff are getting cancelled and everything is being shut down it makes me feel pretty sad not being able to do fun things. Parents should try and do the things the kids like doing. Like ask what they can do that makes kids happy.
I’m kind of nervous because I saw on TV the whole cycle of [the virus] and it makes me nervous because if someone touches something that makes the sickness move. So it goes from touch after touch to other people. Like if I got some mail that could get touched and I could touch it and then I would get it now. But I guess I’m not too worried because my parents are telling me how to be safe like using antibacterial soap and stuff.
We are making cupcakes!
Neva, ‘almost 8’
It’s pretty fun being at home because you can do lots of stuff that you can’t do at school. I’m happy. If mums or dads are stressed out you can take a deep breath and you can say can we start all over.
I’m feeling quite frustrated because I have to spend more time with my sister. I’m trying not to think about the virus. Don’t go out. If a kid is sad they should stay in their room and don’t bother anyone. Don’t think about it.
I’m nearly four. I’m three-and-a-half and I’m feeling good. Stay at home and go outside but in your home.
It’s a bit weird not being at school. I kind of miss it even though it has only been a few days. I write in my journal when I’m nervous. It feels strange not having much communication with people.My friend is a little bit freaked out because she hates the idea of pandemics. I think adults should maybe think of the positive things like maybe it’s good to get out of society and let your head breathe a little bit and have some quality time with your family. I think Jacinda Ardern is being really impressive. It’s disappointing but I want to stay on the positive side and think of the positive stuff that will come out of it. Someday we will do the things we planned.
I kind of miss school. I feel nervous if [the virus] gets to Lyttelton. I talk to Mum and Dad when I’m nervous and they say don’t worry and it’s usually just a bad cold when kids get it and that makes me feel better kind of. It’s a little bit scary in some ways. I’m scared if we get it and we can’t see nana. I think the prime minister is doing a good job though.
I feel so sad because I don’t get to see my best friend Annie, my other best friend Ms Chamberlain and my other best friend, Nana. I’m going to see nana when she’s in the car through the window. I saw Ms Chamberlain from the window. I don’t want anyone to get coronavirus. If you have a kid and the kid is sad you have to cuddle them.
What I think about the lockdown is it’s going to be hard because I think home is a little boring sometimes. It is serious. I’m a bit worried. I want everyone to try and stop it. I want to do the opposite of helping it grow. I think adults can be kind and help us settle in so we feel like normal because it doesn’t feel normal right now because we can’t go to the café or the park. We can go to the beach or something but I miss my friends. Some people can be really stressed about the virus and really worried – I just want to say to them it’s going to be OK, don’t worry.
The Spinoff Weekly compiles the best stories of the week – an essential guide to modern life in New Zealand, emailed out on Monday evenings.