Leisure time – A major challenge

Possibly, our children and youths are going to spend (even) more time than usual in front of a screen in the next few weeks. Although many of them have received homework from their school, e-learning platforms have been and are still recommended to the vast majority. Educational TV has also expanded its range. On the one hand, it is good to be able to now access these offers consciously and purposefully, on the other hand, the abundance that is suddenly available is quite a surprise and shows to which extent the digitalisation of learning has already proceeded. Besides, a day can be long and the range of play and entertainment opportunities for many children is suddenly very limited: sports fields and playgrounds are closed in many places, and so are all the clubs as well as the music, ballet and riding schools.

All of a sudden a lot more is happening digitally. Also the exchange with friends. “Social media” is more popular than ever. Further more there is video telephony and chats with friends. Right now, it’s becoming clear that all this can be both – a blessing and a curse. On the one hand it creates at least a feeling of community, on the other hand it dominates the everyday life of many.

Special times like these require more structure and organization. Sometimes it can be nice to deliberately live into the day, and sleep as long as you want and can. As a rule, however, rules help, such as fixed times for getting up and having meals.

Maybe you finally have time for a breakfast together, without stress, and an extensive dinner that you all cooked together. For example, you can finally let your tomato sauce simmer gently for half a day, just like real Italians do, only to find out after six hours that it does indeed taste different and better. You can only have such small, seemingly insignificant experiences if you have enough free time.

A day in pyjamas should be an absolute no-go. Unless it’s a pyjama ball. By the way, this also applies to parents, who now often have to spend a lot of time in front of the screen in their home office. Nevertheless, limit your screen time to the absolute minimum and don’t sit down at the computer in your pyjamas as soon as you get up. If you work at home, you have to take special care that the computer is not running all the time, that you don’t “just quickly” check an e-mail, so that there is hardly any time left for the children, because you are practically at work day and night.

Instead of granting your children more screen time unconditionally, make your children attractive, perhaps even unexpected, offers. Parents who regularly play with their children might find this easier. They can simply extend their range of offers. Restrict your own media consumption to the “necessities”. If you sit in front of the PC or TV for hours on end, your child will probably follow suit quickly and gladly. You are the role model. Learn to decide carefully and consciously whether you really need this quantity of information (and whether it is good for you at all), whether you consciously watch a film for good entertainment, or whether you are just killing time.

 

Some of us will have much more leisure time in the next few days – maybe even weeks. Let’s use it. The thing is not to “somehow” get through this much spare time or even to kill the time, so that life can continue “normally” again later on. This time is precious. When will you ever have so much free time again?

Of course, you can finally clean the apartment thoroughly, sort out the wardrobe and bring order to the shelves. That can and must be done. However, you certainly have some books that you always wanted to read but didn’t have the time. Now you do.

You’ll likely even find an originally packed CD that hasn’t made it to be heard by you yet. Besides, probably everyone has accumulated musical treasures over the years that could be rediscovered. Why not have an “oldies evening”? Play something for yourself and your family. With a few accompanying words, this will be the best way to “come to terms with the past”. While you absolutely want to put “Locomotive Breath” by Jethro Tull into play, and your partner has made his or her way through to “Samba Pa Ti” by Santana at the expense of “The Girl from Ipanema”, the young and the young at heart may of course also let their hits loose on mum and dad.

Just offer a few minutes of quiet conscious rest once a day. Take the time to be holy. You don’t have to, but you may as well pray,too. Perhaps you could meditate together. For example, on the phrase: “I don’t take anything or anyone for granted.” Or see whether you can manage to become “empty”. Like Buddha or at least a yogi. Finally you have time for that.

Family is probably the biggest and most beautiful challenge right now, even if you are “only” two. Then maybe even more so. We will all be different people in a few weeks, “better” if we want to be, if we accept the challenge.