The Children's Day: A Celebration of the Return to Real Life

Since 1924, Mexico has celebrated Children's Day every April 30. The return to face-to-face activities has not been easy. Parents and teachers face the challenge of bringing children back to real life.

The Children's Day: A Celebration of the Return to Real Life
Since 1924, Mexico has celebrated Children's Day every April 30. Photo by Mark Stosberg / Unsplash

Alopecia, anxiety, depression, and stress are some of the problems that motivated children around the world to go to psychologists during the main months of the pandemic, explains Hilda Elena Esquivel Guillén, an academic at the School of Psychology.

On the occasion of Children's Day, the master in Clinical Psychology emphasizes that minors are among the most affected by the confinement during the health emergency, as they always require more interaction with others, something difficult to maintain in front of a computer, which also implied a challenge for teachers and parents.

It has not been easy. The return for many children was something very much desired, and in many cases, the children's lives came back to them. Patients with depression, alopecia, severe anxiety crisis for not going to school and the return for the children is a liberation to be with their peers and play.

Since 1924 Mexico has dedicated April 30 to this commemoration, making it the first nation in the world to reaffirm the rights of children and create a happy childhood for their full and integral development as human beings.

The celebration was instituted by the then head of the Ministry of Public Education, José Vasconcelos, to remind citizens that children are the most vulnerable group and, therefore, the one that suffers the most from crises and problems. He urged the promotion of fraternity and understanding towards this population.

In 1954, the United Nations General Assembly recommended that countries set aside a day to remember that they have the right to health, education, and protection, regardless of where they were born.

In 1923, the International Save the Children Alliance adopted at its IV General Congress the first Declaration of the Rights of the Child, which was ratified the following year and adopted by the United Nations, indicating that it was "convinced that certain rights for children should be demanded and that we should work for a general recognition of these rights", as stated in the document that would later be known as the Geneva Declaration.

Need for interaction for children

According to the Population and Housing Census 2020, elaborated by the National Institute of Statistics and Geography, in Mexico, there are 31.8 million children aged 0 to 14 years old, in percentage terms representing 25.3 percent of the total population. Of these, 1.4 million children between the ages of 3 and 14 speak an indigenous language; in addition, 1.7 percent of children under the age of 15 are Afro-Mexican or Afro-descendant.

In the most difficult part of the pandemic "I had to take care of children who were extremely anxious, depressed, stressed by online education. It is not the same to go to school where they can manage with their resources and are independent to face school challenges than to have to interact with their classmates with a monitor in the middle and a mom or dad behind them watching and watching how they do each activity, or demanding the best of themselves," says Esquivel Guillén.

But there is also a group that presents problems interacting with their peers; that is, they do not easily have friends, and for them, online education was the best because they did not have to deal with anyone; however, neither is all life is to be in front of a device, say phone, computer or tablet.

Especially in these cases, although technology made it easier to continue with "everyday life" at home, now the challenge for mothers, fathers, and teachers is to return children to real life so that they develop social skills that will serve them for a healthy coexistence in society.

The natural curiosity of children leads them to investigate in different places and, precisely, not having the maturity or the criteria to discriminate what may or may not be risky, makes them more vulnerable to any kind of abuse, so that part is a challenge. Predators are known to be on the hunt for these sites and their strategies. Not because the use of devices has become commonplace, it can be considered that the child has the maturity to handle it.

Parents, today more than ever, should have more communication with their children to supervise what sites they have access to, and who they interact with, and avoid putting them in danger.

It is recommended to regulate the use of these devices, especially with schedules, because their excessive use causes sleep and eating disorders, anxiety, and even suicide due to the challenges that circulate on the Internet or harassment in cyberspace.

To celebrate Children's Day, the expert recommends going back to daily games; that is, to develop a physical activity that allows them to grow properly and the role of parents is to guide them on where and what they can do.

Encouraging face-to-face interaction contributes to not being immersed only in the digital world. Although information and communication technologies have helped us considerably in the difficult part of the pandemic, they are not a substitute for real life, nor can they change what represents the real relationship between people.