We receive numerous messages asking for help or recommendations on what to do these days when we are confined at home with our children due to the coronavirus crisis. Unfortunately, it is an anomalous situation, which we would never have imagined, and since we have never been through it, we are not prepared to face a situation like this. However, the key to successfully dealing with this quarantine with children is having a good family plan and stick with the habits. Let's see it in more detail.
Authorities around the world recommend (and in some cases force) that we stay home these days. In many countries, even school classes have been canceled. That is why at this time we have to face, in the best of cases, a few days at home with our children.
This means that parents have to take care of their time off studies, training, leisure, and combat various enemies such as boredom, and another very important coexistence for 24 hours. And the truth is that we are not prepared to resist a 'full time' coexistence. Human beings will always need their space where they can find calm, their place to develop, for their emotional intimacy, and in this situation it is most likely that we will lack those moments.
The best for this case is make a family plan to help all family members to find our space, without harming anyone, and to share moments that make us more united.
The first thing to do is explain it to our children. And here comes the first question: how do I explain it? Will they understand? Do I sweeten the situation? Am I telling you very dramatic?
Our advice is that the subject is approached from the greatest normality and the greatest honesty. We must bear in mind that our children are only small or 'short', as we like to say, but they are very intelligent, and as such, they adapt to situations much better than adults.
Our approach would be through a family reunion. In this meeting we can take the opportunity to explain the situation without drama, and also without generating great expectations, since we do not know how the health crisis we are experiencing will evolve.
On the other hand, our conversation must be guided by honesty, that is, we must tell our children the real situation. We are going to have to spend a lot of time together and they have to be aware of this fact. It is very important, as we always say, not to use lies with children; the lie is never a generator of positive consequences and always has very short legs. Given this fact, it is important that you be honest and calm, especially to do not transmit an excessive alarm, and so that, if the situation changes for the worse, they cannot blame you for cheating on them.
After this explanation, it is best to draw a family plan among all the members with different points:
- Establish a work schedule for parents and children
The objective of this is to respect as much as possible the children's school hours, in subjects, recesses and activities, and to allow parents to supervise their tasks, help with doubts and be able to telework, so as not to lose sight of their reality.
- Propose some housework for everyone
It is important to assign each member of the family a task or domestic task according to their state of autonomy. In this way, everyone feels involved and important in the family organization. It is good to change them every two or three days so that they take responsibility for new things, learn new tasks and it is not so routine.
- Think about a schedule also for leisure
Third, and very important, are leisure hours. It is good to establish a very clear schedule about exposure to screens, television, consoles, video games, mobile phones ... It is positive that everyone can play whatever they want, but now the most important thing is to recover familiar gaming spaces. All that time that we do not have in our usual day-to-day lives, and that now we have left over, we must use it to play with the family: board games, dancing, singing, cooking, reading. Therefore, it is about occupying free time in an individual and family way.
- Do not forget physical activity and healthy eating
Lastly, physical exercise and nutrition is important to everyone. It is very important that you and your children maintain a healthy diet, as well as schedule at least twenty minutes or half an hour of physical exercise at home.
Remember above all that we need a lot of patience and a lot of emotional intelligence to endure these days of confinement. Let's remember that these days, children can develop different fears, such as the cabin syndrome in which they fear going out into the street and that, therefore, it is essential to accompany them with affection and respect.
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