Conversations With Our Children During Forced Isolation

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My son has been, like every other kid out of school and home. It’s been a change for him as well as me, but everything changes no matter how much you try and fight it.

We have a routine that started about two weeks after school closed and we stick to it pretty well. He gets up at 8:00 a.m. and makes himself some breakfast.  Then he gets to play video games for a bit.  After, we sit down for about an hour, to an hour and a half and do school stuff. Reading, vocabulary, reading comprehension and math. He truly enjoys it since it’s done at his pace, he gets undivided attention and he knows the teacher likes him.

After that it’s outside, weather permitting, to run around and be a kid. Then we have lunch and he relaxes while reading a book.  The book reading is part of the “school day”, then it’s back outside for a while.

When he’s had enough outside time he comes in, relaxes watching TV and then its dinner time.  That’s followed by a shower, a little more TV then lights out. That’s been his typical day now and will be until on-line classes start for him. Everything is smooth and easy, but I wondered if he was ok with all this.

One evening, at dinner, I asked him if he understood what was going on. He looked at me for a second, deep in thought, and replied “sorta”.

I explained to him about the virus and how it’s transmitted and what happens to some people that get sick. I kept it as simple as I could and he seemed to understand, not that’s he isn’t smart.

He sat there a moment and asked me “Will I be out of school forever?”

“No, you’ll be back at some point, but does being out of school bother you buddy?” I asked. Again, he thought it over for a minute and said “Not really.  I miss my friends and playing with them at recess, but I don’t miss school, it’s boring.”

I explained, as best I could, why schools were closed and that it was done to keep all the school kids from possibly getting sick. I also explained that his school would be on-line soon and he would “go to school” on his computer for a while. He told me that his mom had already told him about that and it sounds “kinda” cool.

We talked a little more about school and his friends and before long he asked why everything was closed. I looked at him and smiled, this was a teachable moment. I can talk about how it’s all a conspiracy and that you can never trust the government to do the right thing and add to the drama; or I could remain calm and collected and explain to him that everyone does the best they can in any given situation but sometimes they still do the wrong thing.

I explained what the Constitution is and showed him a copy online and told him these are the ideas our country was founded on. I let him read it for a few and then asked if it made sense, he said “yup”. We talked a little more about that and what protesting was and why some people were, and other things. He seemed to grasp the current situation as well as a 10 year old could.

I know he still has a lot of questions floating around in his head and I’m sure in the days to come he’ll ask me or his mom. All we can do is be honest and open and let him know that this won’t last forever and before he knows it he’ll be back on the playground at school playing with his friends again. 

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