For the Younie family, isolation is not a new experience, but it is different this time around. With extended family members unable to visit, routines changed for the whole household and the slip into boredom easier than ever, Bernadette shares how they have been coping.
Brianna was in treatment or protective isolation for nearly two years, and that started nine years ago. I cannot compare Brianna’s isolation back then to the current COVID-19 crisis. Nine years ago, it was wonderful that Brianna was able to be home, rather than in hospital, and the whole family really appreciated that. Brianna loved being at home (and seeing her dog). She was also very unwell a lot of the time and too sick to need to be entertained. I have a very close family - grandparents, aunts and cousins became extremely important to Brianna. Family were able to visit if they were well, whereas now, with COVID-19, they are not.
Currently, my husband is still going to work. My eldest, Katelyn, is nearly 20 years old. She is studying and “doing her own thing” at home. She is still extremely social, digitally, with all her friends. So, when I talk about my coping strategies, they relate to my two younger children - Chris is 14 and Brianna is 12.
The most important one is for me, is to be patient. It has taken me nearly a month to get into a routine at home and I’m still working on it - that is okay! For the children, it has taken them a month to accept the change in their lives and to learn what is expected from them at home.
The normal rules have been bent. Usually I limit electronic time (on phones, laptop, PlayStation) but I’m less strict with it now - if it is what they enjoy I let them do it. I don’t want to spoil my kids, but now that everyone is under more stress, we occasionally do some online shopping, for little gifts as a reward.
The kids go outside every day. To help motivate them, I have planted a few new plants that I’m hoping they might show an interest in looking after. We also bought little terracotta pots from Flower Power and baking clay from The Reject Shop which we used to create a fairy garden that the kids can add too.
We try to enjoy our time. We sit together around the fire in the backyard. As a family we go on bike rides and our dog is loving her extra walks! We cook sweet treats in the kitchen (I clean up the mess). We are also playing board games, cards and painting together. I could complain about what we cannot do but I have decided to look at the positives of home isolation with the family.