Evelin Kallisaar, an Estonian expat living in Spain, describes her family’s new routine under the strict stay-at-home rules the government had instituted due to the rapid and deadly spread of the novel coronavirus.
We have been confined in our little apartment for over three weeks by now – my four-year-old daughter, her dad and me. I really feel more and more as a cavewoman waiting for the fierce monster to go away. It’s normal that little kids at home make you explore the limits of your sanity all the time. And where the heck are these limits, I ask?
I have had plenty of time to think through a lot of things during this time and I would like to analyse the good and bad sides the confinement has brought to my child.
The time together is a gift to both parents and children to explore their imagination, acceptance and patience. My kid has taken it so much easier than us, and I have learned from her a lot.
Children love to do things with their parents. When my daughter went to school, we didn’t really have much time to spend together at home. Her daily routine consisted of going to school at nine o’clock; at five in the afternoon, we went to the playground until seven o’clock. After that, it was time to bathe, put on the pyjamas, have dinner, then a couple of picture books to read in bed and that was it.
Now, we do wonderful crafts for kids; I have learned so much cool fine motor activities we really enjoy doing together. Now, each child receives personal attention from their parents; at school, with 25 kids at the classroom, they never received so much attention than now. My daughter really disliked the noise at the classroom, now she feels so much more confident and focused.
A perfect time to teach your kid household chores
We learn English every day. The school she went to before we moved to Alicante, in Northern Spain, was bilingual in Spanish and English. She made progress in both languages in six months. But here, in the community of Valencia, the schoolwork is all in Valencian, with two English lessons a week, and I really don’t see any progress. Besides, I try to teach her Estonian at home, so the poor kid has a total mess of languages in her head. One thing I know for certain – for her future, she needs to learn English and perfect Spanish, and it seems this has to be done at home.
We do yoga at home, there are a plenty of nice videos at YouTube for kids to practice animal postures and the sun salutation with a song that makes it easy to follow.
It’s a perfect time to show your kid how to do household chores; before the current situation, my daughter did not participate much in these activities. Now we do laundry, we fold the clothes, we dust and sometimes cook together. Children love cooking, especially mixing the ingredients together. We made pancakes, omelettes, salads, milkshakes. She really enjoys all of it, as well as doing the dishes.
Dogs have more rights than humans
But sometimes the caveman life is tough, too. I had to stop writing my book, I practically have no time for reading or doing my exercises. In our small apartment, there is not enough space for three of us to move and children need to move a lot and get fresh air. Some people don’t even have a balcony.
When I think about all the children locked up at their homes, my heart shrinks. It seems the government has not thought about the children’s needs at all. Even dogs have more rights than children – they go for a walk every day.
We need to stay strong and healthy, and for that, we need sunshine and fresh air, play sports and have our defences working. It makes sense, doesn’t it? But when you go out, the policemen are waiting and try to impose fines for everything. How long can we resist this way without going nuts?
Please note that Evelin Kallisaar wrote this post originally in Spanish, on 30 March. For the latest developments in Estonia, follow our special blog on coronavirus.
Cover: Empty streets of Alicante. Photo by Julian Dik/Unsplash.