Maintain perspective during lockdown

Photo: Getty Images
Photo: Getty Images
This lockdown, you may have a project or two that the kids can be involved with.  Skills are learnt and variety added to the day, writes Ian Munro.

Ian Munro
Ian Munro
Events certainly got ahead of last week's column - a Delta outbreak sooner rather than later and possible vaccinations for 12-15 year-olds were both actualities by the time it was in print. As we’re frequently told, it’s a fast-moving and ever evolving situation.

An interesting fact learnt during last lockdown was the origin of the word "quarantine", from the Italian "quaranta giorni" meaning 40 days. Ships arriving in 14th century Venice from plague-infected ports had to sit at anchor for 40 days before landing.

So, here we are in lockdown again, but hopefully not at Level 4 for 40 days. With luck some of us might be in Level 3 by the time you read this.

Nevertheless, I’ll risk it again with an in-lockdown topic about managing kids. My daughter has shared with me suggestions sent almost excitedly, perhaps even pointedly, by a friend in the UK when she heard about our "ridiculous" lockdown on the basis of just one case.

After so much time in lockdown her youngsters eventually began to lose interest in their online schooling (what’s the point, it’s just like having homework day in and day out, no-one’s really teaching us). They missed face-face contact with friends, their sport and other activities as well as some time away from siblings and parents.

Her friend’s youngsters didn’t talk about the pandemic particularly, but she could see a definite low but rising level of anxiety. Their pent-up energies were also problematic. The days got very long.

She said it was important for parents to try to keep things in perspective even when it’s so uncertain how many aspects of normal daily life will play out - like job retention and income, home-schooling and becoming infected despite precautions. Talking with them about the issues factually and as positively as possible helped allay fears.

Together they set up daily routines like get up times, washing, dressing, schooling, chores (they still need to be done), free-time (including own-space time), fresh air and exercise time and limits around screen-time. It can be tempting to stay in pyjamas all day in front of the television but that novelty and lack of variety soon affects moods detrimentally.

You may have a project or two that the kids can be involved with, even if it’s breadmaking, filling biscuit tins or gardening. Maybe now’s the time to do some spring-cleaning. Skills are learnt and variety added to the day. A daily boardgame or other competition with prizes for all can work well if the kids are old enough.

Social interaction is a big part of most youngsters’ days, so see if some of the screen time can be interactive with friends.

Hopefully, we aren’t in this for the long haul and extreme tedium isn’t something we need to deal with. And our "ridiculous" lockdown brings "freedom day" a lot quicker and with more genuine freedom that the UK’s ever did.


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