Our kids have been in isolation and homeschooling since 11 March. That is over 10 weeks of limited (no) social interaction with friends, class mates and kids from their sports.
We live next to a country road, and have no neighborhood to walk around in, so they have been confined to our house and 2 acres of forest surrounding it.
Normally we would say “go play outside in the forest”, but when we are talking about 10+ weeks and with less favorable weather, even the forest becomes a boring place.
While the driveway can offer some opportunity to use the bicycle, it is steep and if the breaks fail, they end up on the main road.
It is becoming very visible that kids are suffering from this lock-down. They see people on the TV with masks, they hear about shortage of certain grocery items and all they hear from the news is doom and gloom. All this leads them tobelieve that the world has gone under and we are a few days away from civil war. The apocalypse is around the corner.
Last weekend, the weather picked up and I decided to bring my youngest to a local parking area, to ride her bicycle.
She was super excited, rolling down the window and letting the air hit her face and run through her hair. She put her hand out the window and played with the wind, letting her arm float.
I unloaded her bike and she jumped in the saddle.
She spend the next 20 minutes just riding her bike. It is a bit too small, but that did not bother her. As she gained speed and did more laps, her smile grew and grew.
As a parent, this was such a joy to see and it warmed my Viking heart. I have not seen her this happy in some time. It was clear that she needed this break from the normal quarantine set up. Her worries and sadness floated away. She turned into the little happy girl she was 11 weeks ago, before all this nightmare started.
I feel for all the kids that have and are stuck in their homes. No more school. No access to friends and just going day-by-day. The mental suffering is real for these kids. We as parents need to help them as much as we can, and also give them time away from the boring home schooling.
They need to switch off and we need to find ways for them to burn off their anxieties.
The powers to be do not realize how much these stay-at-home orders impact the mental state of kids, and locking them away for months will have prolonged consequences.
I was so happy to see my daughter smile, laugh and enjoy herself; even if it only lasted 20 minutes. It was a recharge of her mind, and it will last her a while longer.
The picture used for this post is from that day. It cannot capture the joy and laughs I witnessed, and I continue to smile when I look at the picture.
My advice to you parents. Find moments to allow your child to ride a bike, run a track, go fishing and let them live a little. This is temporarily and we will prevail.