Locked up with the kids: what to do now?

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For several weeks, quarantine dictates certain rules of life. People were “torn” from their day-to-day lives and placed in a closed environment. And if that’s extremely difficult for adults, it can be twice as difficult for children, because it’s harder for them to get used to the idea of restrictions than for an adult.

Of course, it won’t be easy. 5-9-year-old children have the most difficult time surviving isolation, because they’ve only just discovered how cool it is to communicate! If the child is very young, the most important thing for him is that his mother is close by; if we’re talking about a teenager and the Internet hasn’t been taken away from him, he’ll also find something to do (though this doesn’t mean that that should be his only occupation for this period). But younger schoolchildren suffer from lack of communication most of all, as well as from the lack of opportunities for a “release” of energy, so it’s important to find them a way to direct their energy somewhere.

What needs to be done to help the children adapt to this situation and get through it without unnecessary stress:

• Try to diversify everyday life for children as much as possible: you shouldn’t rely too much on TV and cartoons. It’s better to more or less adhere to the usual schedule.

• Make a joint daily plan with your child. Make sure to discuss the items, taking into account the interests of all family members. If the child’s already in school, suggest that he draw up this family plan. You can post a day plan somewhere in the kitchen so everyone can see it. Allow the child to have clear expectations about what’s going to happen during the day – when there’d be time for games, reading and rest.

• Distance learning involves systematic learning – just via an unusual system. It makes sense to develop a schedule that’ll closely resemble the child’s regular school day and to try to stick to it. Let there be both lessons and breaks to rest and switch off.

• Help your child keep in touch with friends and relatives – it’s important that there’s no feeling of isolation. You can use Skype and other video chats for this.

• When using various e-platforms, alternate between entertaining and educational ones. Be sure to discuss with the children what they’ve watched, and let interesting discussions arise between you two.

• Set up joint activities, whatever they may be: if you’re choosing a movie to watch together, do it in turn, so that all parties’ interests are considered. Add an element of excitement and randomness: put pieces of paper with the names of the movies suggested by every person written on them in a hat, and let the child pull out a title on the piece of paper.

• If the quarantine has deprived the family of walking outside and getting fresh air, you need to regularly ventilate the apartment, go out on the balcony, do some exercises with the child. Be sure to introduce some playful elements, so that this is a fun pastime, and not a boring obligation.

• Watch your appearance and motivate your child not to spend all day in pajamas. It stimulates activity and good mood. And now, let’s talk about specific activities. What can you and your children do during the quarantine? Oh, there’s loads of stuff! We’ll review it in the next article.