Ms Lennon said her son loved being a member of the choir.
“He is exceptionally proud of his progression, adores singing and, with lockdown and restrictions has felt very lost without this regular routine in place,” she said.
Penny Van Bergen, associate professor of educational psychology at Macquarie University, said the loss of activities they would normally enjoy can be unsettling for young people who thrive on routine.
“Sport or music may be where some kids feel most confident in themselves, for example, while guides or other extracurricular activities may be a key way in which they connect with others beyond school,” she said.
Dr Van Bergen said there may even be a sense of grief for children particularly involved in a sport or activity, or who were looking forward to a competition, concert or other milestone.
Extracurricular activities also connected kids with their communities and provided opportunities to develop new skills and abilities, Dr Van Bergen said.
“For teenagers, in particular, organised activities can help provide a sense of positive identity,” she said. “Team sports and group activities also offer the opportunity to bond with new friends, to learn collaborative skills, and to consider others’ needs and perspectives as well as your own.”
Sydney’s ongoing lockdown, which has been extended to the end of September, has forced girl guides to move their program online.
Cecily Zhu, a volunteer leader of a Girl Guides unit in Hurstville Grove, said “the experience is not the same and, unfortunately, we have lost some members as a result”.
“Our girls are already spending hours each day in front of their computers for schooling, so it is difficult to engage them online after school hours,” she said.
Ms Zhu said she was concerned the curtailment of extracurricular activities would impact on kids’ emotional, physical and mental development.
“Not being able to meet physically means that the Guides miss out on opportunities to develop their social and leadership skills in a safe environment,” she said.
“The other impact is on their drive and enthusiasm, as they are prevented from completing challenges and earning badges which motivates them to set goals and work towards achieving something.”
Kelly Adams’ children Seth, 12, Chelsea, 9, and Chloe, 6, would normally be busy with dance, Korean martial art hapkido and netball if they weren’t forced by the COVID-19 outbreak to stay at home in Riverstone.
“They struggle not being able to see their friends,” she said. “Zoom just isn’t the same.”
Ms Adams’ children also help out in the dance studio she operates, which has been forced to close.
“They just want to be back in our studio where they can dance with their friends in person and be in their normal routine,” she said.
“We can get daily exercise, practise gratitude, eat well, attend school and dance online but lack of in-person human connection, exercise, team sports is wearing thin.”