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How to Keep Kids Happy During Isolation

Parents have to make the hard choice of when to allow their children back into the world now that restrictions have begun to ease.

Guest blogger Conor O’Flynn put together a piece for Oakhill to help parents ease children into a "new normal."

boy sitting on bench while holding a bookPhoto by Ben White via Unsplash

We are living in interesting times. In the last few months, life as we know it has changed, perhaps forever. The whole world seems to be focussed on the COVID-19 pandemic. As someone recently remarked, it’s the biggest crisis in the world since WWII. 

Terms like ‘quarantine’, ‘social distancing’ and ‘isolation’ have become the norm. To halt the spread of infection, we must live with our neighbours with a sense of separation, staying at least a few metres away from the nearest person. Unless that person is a member of our household. So, for the time being, our interaction with others has to be on a need basis. No popping into the neighbours for a chat, no visiting relatives, no parties or playdates. The message is: stay home to stay safe.

The Effect on Children

The trouble for parents, or guardians of children is that isolation is not good for young people. They need to get outside and play with each other. Some children can curl up with a book and be happy, but those are very rare. Most children can’t read to a self-entertaining level until they’re at least eight years old or more. What can you do to keep the youngsters happy? Let’s look at some of the ways we can help keep our kids from slipping into boredom and lethargy.

  • Plan Regular Routines: When it comes to kids, regular routines are your lifesaver. There must be a regular time for eating, showering, sleeping, whatever. You may not be going to work and the kids may not be going to school. You may be working and studying from home. Fix the hours for these activities and stick to them. 

two toddler playing letter cubesPhoto by Maria Howenstine via Unsplash

  • Physical Exercise: Have a common exercise session every morning. It could be yoga, keep-fit exercises or even playing with a ball together. You can use your staircase to exercise if you have no exercise bike. Use skipping ropes if you have them. Being confined to home doesn’t mean you have to live a sedentary lifestyle. Fifteen to twenty minutes per day is a good amount of exercise.

  • Fixed Sleeping and Waking times: Sleeping on after the morning alarm has gone off can happen and it’s okay. But don’t make a habit of doing that. Keeping your sleeping time regular will keep your life and health in balance. This tip is closely related with regular routine, but as sleeping is related to health, it is good to give it some extra attention.

baby in black and white stripe shirt lying on bedPhoto by Jonathan Burba via Unsplash

  • Get the Kids to Help with Housework: Encourage older children to take pride in keeping their bedrooms and clothes cupboards tidy. They must take a few minutes every day to tidy their rooms and clothes. Without pressure, teach them how to clean the bathroom, do the laundry and help get dinner ready. Get older children to help look after younger children and to enjoy teaching them. Set up a kid-friendly space in the centre of the home for younger children, where they can play under the supervision of parents and older siblings. 

  • Set Sensible Limits for Online Time: Being at home all the time is no reason for children to be spending too much time online, but you knew that already. Try to fit in video calls to friends and other online activities to no more than an hour each per day. Movies and TV can be enjoyed when the day’s study is done. 

This Too Shall Pass

Sometimes, despite your best efforts, the kids will still get bored. That is okay. Keep reminding yourself that ‘this too shall pass’ and change the routine a bit. Encourage older children to read and explore for themselves. People say that things will never return to the way they were before. From this time onwards, we must always remember that there is a risk of infection and to keep some type of distance with others. Whatever the ‘new normal’ is, isolation won’t last forever. These periods of isolation will come to an end and some semblance of normal life will resume, whatever that will be. So, meanwhile, stay safe and remember, it won’t always be necessary to isolate.

Author Bio: This article was written by Conor O’Flynn of O’Flynn Medical who are leading suppliers of medical equipment to the Irish healthcare Industry. He has seen first-hand the effects of Covid-19 on the healthcare system and understands the importance of isolating to prevent the spread of the virus, even though it is difficult for people with young families.

Posted by M. McDaniel in Early Years, Middle School Years, Lower School, Parent Topics, Intermediate Division on Tuesday May, 19


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