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Do we overstimulate our children? Now we have no choice but not to

PUBLISHED: 08:18 22 March 2020 | UPDATED: 10:19 22 March 2020

Reporter Mariam Ghaemi and her children Layla, four, and Jasmine, two, at Baylham House Rare Breeds Farm near Needham before restrictions came into place Picture: RUSSELL CLAYDON

Reporter Mariam Ghaemi and her children Layla, four, and Jasmine, two, at Baylham House Rare Breeds Farm near Needham before restrictions came into place Picture: RUSSELL CLAYDON

RUSSELL CLAYDON

As adults grapple mentally with the increasing restrictions on our daily lives in order to fight an enemy we can’t see, our young children seem blissfully unaware.

The cancellation of playdates earlier this week was confirmation that life as I know it with the kids would be very different, one with less contact, which poses the question: ‘what on earth are we going to do with our children?’

As guidance on social distancing was announced while it was apparently safe for schools and nurseries to stay open, this created a dilemma for parents.

Do we take them out of class? Are we doing what’s best for our children?

In the interim until the Government made the decision to close these institutions – except for key workers and vulnerable children – parents were having discussions between themselves about whether a playdate was safe.

I had a mixed response from friends; some felt a playdate outside must surely be okay (after all, schools were open, and we were told by experts the risk to children around other children was low) while others wanted no contact whatsoever.

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When I broke the news to my four-year-old Layla that she wouldn’t be meeting up with a nursery friend on Wednesday, I expected tears.

But she told me: “I don’t want to go out anyway. I just want to stay at home.”

We normally go out every day – either to the park, a soft play centre, a play group or meet up with friends - but do we really need to? Is this just as much for me as for her?

We put pressure on ourselves to entertain them, to stimulate them, but maybe it’s ok to just chill at home.

This imposed social distancing will mean we have no choice. We will all have to slow down.

It will also prompt us to think of what fun can be had under our own roof, and maybe we should let the children lead.

Baking, arts and crafts, films, board games, playing outside in the garden – activities for a quiet day will become every day. How long until the children notice?

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