Things we learned to appreciate more during COVID-19 lockdown
Curfews helped Tomislav’s family appreciate the value of living in an intergenerational household and spending quality time together
The coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic is of a scale most people alive today have never seen. Lockdowns and curfews to contain the spread of the virus impacted the way children learn, the way their families earn a living, and how safe they feel in their homes and communities. Despite the ongoing threat, countries around the world are starting to lift restrictions. As we question whether we will ever go back to what we once knew to be “normal”, its worth taken a step back to see how we can build on what we have learned to build back a better world for children.
As a journalist, UNICEF photographer Tomislav Georgiev was one of the rare professionals with a permit to go out during the curfews and capture images of the deserted streets of the capital. But he discovered that in times like this, the most valuable images can be found closer to home. He turned his lenses from the outside world to capture photos of his own family with a loving eye. In a household where four generations live together, Tomislav captured scenes of play, family celebrations, sharing, exploring and learning new skills.
“I realized that no matter how much time we think we have; at the end of the day, what I came to appreciate was that we simply don’t spend enough quality time with our families,” says Tomislav.
Days in lockdown were an opportunity for children to reinvent ways of play and learning, exploring their immediate environment and making the most of what they had available. Building resilience in children is one way we help them to cope in difficult moments.
Curfews were also a time to help children learn responsibility and their role in contributing in our own way to find a solution to collective problems. “The silent understanding of my children was simply astonishing. We stay home, no questions asked, no demands to go and play with friends. Their lives have completely changed, yet they seem to grasp the importance of their contribution better than most adults,” says Tomislav.
During curfews many learned about the importance of being creative with the scarce resources and limited physical space they had at home. Also, many came to appreciate that small acts of kindness and gratitude to other family members helps to boost emotional wellbeing.
Some even learned new skills but what matters most is learning to appreciate the emotional connections made between different generations. Its these connections that help us to develop the emotional resilience’s we need to get through stressful times.
“It is true – this crisis has taken its toll on humanity. However, it also provided an opportunity for generations to unite and perhaps begun to shape our younger generations to think differently about their own individual roles and how we as individuals can all contribute in our own way to find a solution to collective problems,” says Tomislav.
UNICEF remains committed to its mission to provide essential support, protection and information as well as hope of a brighter day for every child. UNICEF stands united with one clear promise to the world: we will get through this together, for every child.