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We all have different ways of dealing with difficult situations, and for most people a bit of escapism can go along way to helping you through hard times. This is no different for children; as important as it is to understand the world around them it is also important, they have time to relax, unwind and escape real life. This can be done through watching fantasy movies or reading fantasy books as well as playing different types of games.
Escapism is the desire or tendency to distract one’s self from unpleasant or difficult realities by seeking relief or entertainment, generally in the form of fantasy. Often times escapism is considered to be a negative thing as it can turn into avoidance which has its own issues. It is argued that by engaging in escapist thinking people shield themselves from the real issues at hand and can make their reality worse. However, in the current situation we are facing, escapism can be helpful when engaged in responsibly and carefully.
Instead of looking at escapism as a negative, it is important to frame it as a positive distraction from the current difficult situation our world is facing. For kids, escapism can be anything from watching a fun film to dressing up in fancy dress; anything which takes their mind of possible worries or anxieties about what is happening in the news.
With this in mind it is important that children do understand the pandemic as best they can and that you are open and honest with them about what is happening. However, they are still children who deserve to be able to escape to a world of their own imagination and there is nothing wrong with indulging in a little escapism.
Movies offer a great form of escapism for a lot of us and especially children. The type of movie they choose will likely depend on their own preference however there are some which should be avoided; generally, avoid horror films or any films which could have links to the current situation as this could be too close to home and cause anxieties. Instead, stick to upbeat, fun films, fantasy films and any films which are entirely removed from the pandemic.
Movies can be a really immersive experience, especially for children as they can easily become engrossed in a film. This is a great way to take their mind off things if they are worried and can even be a good opportunity for the whole family to sit down together and indulge in a little escapism.
As with movies, reading fiction acts as a great form of escapism. Generally, the best books to read for this are fantasy books as they allow the reader to completely immerse themselves in a new world, which is completely different to their own. As most people will now have spare time on their hands, especially children, it is the perfect time to begin a fantasy series and completely immerse one’s self in the world. Book series’ such as Harry Potter make a perfect escape for the reader from the real world. For younger children who cannot read unassisted yet, or for those who would prefer to have books read to them, audio books offer a great alternative.
In addition to immersing themselves in a fictional world in a movie or book, children should be encouraged to let their imagination run wild and engage in their own fantasy play. Children are extremely creative and imaginative and seem to come up with some wacky ideas when it comes to playtime. Now is a great time to encourage this; from getting the fancy dress costumes out to building a den using their bed and some furniture there is endless fun to be had with whatever you have in the house.
Another great way to encourage a little bit of escapism for children is to encourage them to do some arts and crafts. You’d be surprised how much you can invest into a good craft project and how much it can help take your children’s, and your, mind off the real world for a bit. For some messy fun, get finger paint or hand painting. Or, if you prefer something a little cleaner, you could make paper crafts and cards. The great thing about this is you can then keep the artwork has a reminder of this time to look back on.
When the kids have had enough of their own imagination why not jump into a board game. You’ll probably agree that we can lose ourselves a little bit in a game of monopoly or scrabble, so, why not get the whole family involved. Choose a game which is suitable for all and spend some quality time together playing. You’d be surprised how much fun it can be, and it will help take your mind off everything else going on whilst you spend some time with your loved ones.
We could all do with practising a little bit of escapism in these current times, and supporting your children as they do this can help ease their stresses and worries about the pandemic whilst still ensuring they have an awareness of the situation.