the confinement debate reaches children

Marc and Álex are 6 and 4 years old and these days they have turned the sofa into a real park of trampolines: cartwheels, stunts and jumps are the recipe for spending energy and coping with the confinement that has kept them locked up for almost three weeks at home.

"They are very moved and we try to leave them looser, that they can jump on the bed or the sofa to clear themselves because they are quite irritable," says Efe Xavi, the father of the little ones, who believes that, if the state of alarm is prolonged, some formula should be enabled so that they can go outside safely.

In Thais and Dani's apartment, the hours pass between crafts, paintings and drawings, that is when they get Ylenia (6 years old) and Aaron (3 years old) to stop screaming from the balcony: "It is their way of letting off steam, because they are behaving really good, "says their mom.

Although the little ones are crazy about going for a walk, she is not so clear, at least until the impact of the pandemic is reduced: "Actually, I am more concerned with the studies."

And it is that the days of confinement have ignited the debate on whether children should be allowed to go outside, as demanded by entities and specialists and as the Italian Executive has already done, which now allows minors to walk outdoors accompanied by an adult near their home.

Social networks have become a hotbed of complaints from parents, siblings and grandparents asking the government for similar measures and regretting that the decree of the state of alarm takes into consideration pets but not minors.

"We are being very little sensitive with children and that reflects an emotional negligence that already existed in our society," said the psychotherapist Manuel Paz, director of the IPSIMED mental health clinic, in an interview with Efe.

According to the expert, confinement measures, although necessary, "are neglecting dimensions of health that are also very important", such as the impact on minors of such prolonged isolation.

"Children are a vulnerable population and it has not been taken into account how this drastic change can affect them," he affirmed before regretting that the state of alarm does not contemplate "any specific measure on children", except that "they can accompany the parents to make the purchase "if it is essential.

For this reason, it has launched a campaign on the platform to demand that children be allowed to use community spaces and avoid "collateral damage" from confinement, thus joining other initiatives that have used the same tool to make their demands visible. .

This is the case of the pedagogue and psychologist Heike Freire, who leads the #coronainfancias campaign to demand that the authorities pay "special attention" to the needs of minors in managing the health emergency and that they study the possibility that they may " be outdoors, receive sunlight, move and play, in an orderly manner and without endangering public health. "

A measure that, remember the specialists, depends on the needs of each one since, as the example of Pol, 12 years old, and Ivet, 7, shows, each home is different and not all children have the same demands.

"Personally we do not need to go out, we get along quite well and we have agreed on some routines," says his mother, Noelia, who details that although Pol has autism, the outdoor space they have at home is enough to deal with confinement.

In fact, other experts such as neuropsychologist Álvaro Bilbao point out that although in the short term the total confinement of minors may lead to "anxiety, nightmares or episodes of irritability", in the long term "possibly" it will not have consequences, since "they are very resistant "and most" are doing very well. "

For this reason, Bilbao considers that the decision to allow them to go out should be "subject" to the guidelines set by the health authorities and recalls that "the most important thing" is the "treatment" they receive at home: "If the We stress, pressure, scream or get angry at them for the smallest thing, it is very possible that the confinement could have negative consequences. "

Known faces have also joined the burning debate, such as Shakira, who in a message on Twitter urged the government "to consider a policy that allows an adult in charge to take a child out for a walk, even if it is subject to restrictions."

Despite the controversy, the Executive remains firm and at the moment does not consider the possibility of relaxing movement restrictions: "We know that many parents with young children are making enormous efforts to comply with the measures to tackle the crisis. We want to send a message of longing. (...) We know that boys and girls do not understand this situation, but they suffer it, "said the Minister of Consumer Affairs, Alberto Garzón.


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