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Is lockdown particularly tough for an only child

(86 Posts)
MissPoldark Mon 21-Sep-20 18:22:28

I’m wondering about the potential to allow only children to officially bubble with a friend.
I think lockdown is especially difficult for children with no brothers or sisters at home to play with.

Single adults were allowed to bubble with another household, what do we think of the idea that single children could also do this?

I absolutely appreciate that lockdown is difficult for all sorts of people in different circumstances, but this strikes me as being something not too unreasonable that could be considered.

We can’t have a never ending list of exceptions, I know that. It’s just an idea that I think would really help the mental health and continuing social development of many children.

OP’s posts: |
Feminist10101 Mon 21-Sep-20 18:23:39

Yes. sad

MissPoldark Mon 21-Sep-20 18:24:51

On second thoughts I’m wondering about the impact on children who might find themselves with no one to bubble with.
Just thinking out loud here!

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purpleme12 Mon 21-Sep-20 18:25:48

Well in my experience yes it is very hard

And yes it does affect their emotional well-being and behaviour. An adult can't replicate a child

OverTheRainbow88 Mon 21-Sep-20 18:26:09

Yes I Totally agree with your suggestion. In practice not 100% sure how it would work, but it’s a good idea.

Jennygentle Mon 21-Sep-20 18:27:44

My only child enjoyed lockdown to a worrying extent hmm but I realise many onlies didn’t. In theory, the friend bubbles is a nice idea.

Changethetoner Mon 21-Sep-20 18:27:48

No. They are used to their own company, and probably better at entertaining themselves than kids with siblings.

purpleme12 Mon 21-Sep-20 18:28:59

Changethetoner

No. They are used to their own company, and probably better at entertaining themselves than kids with siblings.

Mmmm this might be true for some but I'm not sure I'd agree with this in general

Cornettoninja Mon 21-Sep-20 18:29:15

I agree, certainly from what I’ve observed with my own (social butterfly) dd although siblings bring their own problems to the table too. Kids don’t necessarily get on.

I think it boils down to dc needing their own lives too. We are social creatures and thrive off interaction with other people of our own choosing from a young age.

Feminist10101 Mon 21-Sep-20 18:29:53

It was really hard first time round. DD lost all of her various clubs and groups overnight. And as an only we had worked really hard to build her social networks. To make it worse she also lost time with family members because they all live more than 5 miles away (we are in Wales where that was the rule). She didn’t enjoy zoom calls or text messaging friends.

I was still going to work (Long hours) with DH working from home so she had to entertain herself most of the time. sad

I have friends in similar situations within a mile or 2 and we couldn’t do anything to help.

Waxonwaxoff0 Mon 21-Sep-20 18:30:19

Yes. I have an only child. I've never seen him like he was during lockdown. Saying awful things, crying every day. He's 7.

Since school reopened it's like I've got my child back. Even if we can't do playdates any more we can cope but I cannot deal with another nationwide school closure.

Feminist10101 Mon 21-Sep-20 18:31:52

DD became desperately lonely. She usually spends time with a lot of adults and children during a week and she lost all of it.

MissPoldark Mon 21-Sep-20 18:32:04

I think it was easier to deal with at the first lockdown. There was clear reasoning , it was easier to explain and it was intended to be temporary. Having had a taste of relative normality for the past few weeks I think it somehow feels more difficult to return to those circumstances.

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jessstan2 Mon 21-Sep-20 18:32:21

I think it depends on the individual child. I was/am an only child and I think I would have liked lockdown but we'll never know because such a thing never happened.

Palavah Mon 21-Sep-20 18:33:21

Yes, and that sounds like a great idea. They can meet up inside/outside so long as not more then 6 in group including supervising adult and covid safe, right? Unless you are in a local lockdown area. I wonder if the childcare exemption that Hancock confirmed today might be useful for you?

AsMuchUseAsAMarzipanDildo Mon 21-Sep-20 18:34:25

Yes, my DD is an only child and at 3 years old she’s craving some friends. It’s the first time I’ve seen her be more interested in her peers than me and feels like such a crucial age for learning social skills. I’m desperately hoping tomorrow’s announcement doesn’t curtail her mixing with her cousin and best friend. They really missed each other during lockdown (sounds silly for 3 year olds, but they’re more like siblings) and her pre-school still isn’t back in any meaningful sense. It doesn’t make sense to me that we might not be able to “bubble” with my sister and her 2 kids - we’d be 2 families of 6 people in total, all with minimal outside contact, working from home etc. It’s not to say I don’t care about Covid deaths or deny the seriousness of the situation. I just think that humans are evolutionarily programmed to be social animals and fear what the long-term impact of lockdown will be for children.

Plesky Mon 21-Sep-20 18:34:43

My only child adored lockdown, because he got endless parental attention, and we were living close to endless deserted beaches, but didn't see another child close up between late March and August, which isn't ideal.

OnNaturesCourse Mon 21-Sep-20 18:34:46

Yes, my little one went from seeing her grandparents three days a week and seeing friends at her playgroup to just her dad and I. She missed the social and adventure aspect, and the people. She is 2. It took us about 4 weeks to get her used to being allowed to be around people again, and she still stops and moves out of people's way on the street to avoid being too close.

Qasd Mon 21-Sep-20 18:34:48

The actual lockdown yes very much so but if they keep schools open then that means an only child would have more chances to socialise than the adult population so should be ok?

OverTheRubicon Mon 21-Sep-20 18:36:11

So much depends on circumstances. An only child whose parents can schedule to give them lots of attention, plus a decent internet connection and a garden will have a much better lockdown than their classmate who has three siblings but they share one laptop and an old tablet between them, squabble endlessly and have one parent working out of home and the other trying to get some work done while caring for them all and completely scrapping home schooling.

Or what about in my case, where one child has additional needs that mean they can't play with their sibling and take a lot of attention, does their sibling count?

I think we just need to acknowledge this is hard for all children in different ways, and leave it at that. Every time they add complexity it's an excuse for a huge number of people to throw up their hands and say it's all too hard and do whatever they wanted to begin with, let's leave it as is, invest in thermal underwear for lots of meeting outdoors, and hope lockdown is shorter this time.

Pinkfluffyunicornsdancing Mon 21-Sep-20 18:37:00

The first one was really tough until we made more use of the computer and video calls. This time round it would be lovely to mix with her little friend who is also an only child. They could be covid sisters if you will.

But I'm not sure how it would work if 5 siblings each had a friend that is an only child. How could the parents choose?

MissPoldark Mon 21-Sep-20 18:37:06

Yes I know it’s much better now that schools are open, but given the choice I think my DS would rather just be allowed to play with his best friend than go to school grin

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Gazelda Mon 21-Sep-20 18:37:22

Feminist10101

It was really hard first time round. DD lost all of her various clubs and groups overnight. And as an only we had worked really hard to build her social networks. To make it worse she also lost time with family members because they all live more than 5 miles away (we are in Wales where that was the rule). She didn’t enjoy zoom calls or text messaging friends.

I was still going to work (Long hours) with DH working from home so she had to entertain herself most of the time. sad

I have friends in similar situations within a mile or 2 and we couldn’t do anything to help.


My DD experienced the same. She is an introverted only. We've tried very hard to build her social confidence and various groups of friends. All this came tumbling down during lockdown.

She was far more comfortable at home and very upset about returning to school and having to rebuild friendships.

She'll get there, but there's no doubt in my mind that lockdown impacted her more than it would have if she'd had siblings.

MissPoldark Mon 21-Sep-20 18:39:20

But I'm not sure how it would work if 5 siblings each had a friend that is an only child. How could the parents choose?

Yes, probably one of the reasons it’s not perhaps not particularly workable unfortunately.
Ok if your children’s friends are also only children though!

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RepeatSwan Mon 21-Sep-20 18:39:38

Yes, I do think it is. There'll always be some exceptions but especially at the younger end.

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