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Social Isolation at Home with the Kids

Noah Charney, Art Historian: View Social Isolation at Home with the Kids as an Opportunity to Learn and Bond.

Cooped up at home with the kids during the coronavirus pandemic can frazzle some parents as they long for the day to go back to work and send kids off to school. But other parents are taking advantage of the time to engage with their children in creative and enjoyable ways. Discovering new things together can build closer bonds with each other. When it comes to art, who better to give kids a fascinating journey into the world of fine art and treasure capers than art historian and best-selling author Dr. Noah Charney.

Low-Key Living

American born Charney lives in Slovenia, a gem of a nation nestled amidst the Alps and edge of the Mediterranean Sea. He and his family seem far removed from the ravages coronavirus has inflicted on the rest of the world. Only recently did the pandemic touch the shores of this tranquil place, and we’ve asked Charney how he and his family are bearing up.

He says, “So, for us, it’s very low-key, I’m relieved to say. Slovenia is relatively under control, and I live in a charming town at the foot of the Alps, not a bustling metropolis. I also live in a house with a garden, so staying at home doesn’t feel restrictive. No one I know has been seriously ill because of this, so it’s okay for us, but it feels particularly surreal since we get reports on the news of how chaotic the world is, but we don’t encounter this chaos ourselves.

“Because my wife and I work from home, the only real difference is that I had to cancel events (public talks and such), and we’re usually very social. My 5- and 7-year-olds are at home, and that’s the biggest difference. It’s hard to get work done, as they’re of an age that needs attention. But it’s not dissimilar to school holidays.”

Away from It All

Living far from the maddening crowd, tucked away in the pastoral setting of Charney’s quaint Slovenian village, one can imagine a slower pace of life, perhaps a better quality of life to raise a family. The realms of government and politics seem very distant. Asked if he had any advice for our business leaders and government, he replied, “I’m the wrong person to ask because I happily live in a bubble in which I am fully aware only of news involving the Boston Red Sox and Luka Dončić and the Dallas Mavericks. I’m not even sure which day it is. I pay no attention to the news, so I don’t know what governments are doing.

“If everyone had my ostrich-in-distress approach, we’d be in trouble, but for me, it means that life is minimally annoying and distracted by things outside of my immediate sphere of influence. I guess it would be great if everyone who could be tested were tested — for instance, a family member had a super mild fever for 13 days and no other symptoms, and it would be useful to know if that was corona or something else — but I’m unaware of the limitations on testing.”

Not Too “Lesson-y”

Making the best of social isolation is easier for some people than others. Charney is doing his best to make the most of the time spent with his kids. He gives them gentle, low-key lessons and virtual tours about places in our world that could be interesting for our readers. He shares, “I recently published a very popular article about how I’ve taken this period of isolation and turned it into lemonade, as a time to engage more and teach my kids, An Art History Professor’s Tips for Taking Your Kids on a World Tour—From Home.” The article lists excellent ideas you can do with your kids or even for yourself. Keep busy learning and not only will you gain a lot of knowledge, but it will also make the passing of time more enjoyable.“I try to be a proactive parent teaching in a gentle, non-didactic way. I did this anyway, but now there is more time to do so. I’d just try to take this time, particularly if you have forced time off work, to choose a larger project that you’ve been putting off, and try to engage with it and complete it. It will make the time feel well-used, not lost,” he says.

Moving Forward

After the coronavirus pandemic passes, it will have impacted many lives worldwide, some more than others. Charney shares what he believes it will be like moving forward, “I think for a long time, people will be extra hygienic and wearing masks in public spaces like supermarkets, and very slow to get back into group mingling.“I hope it will encourage everyone to get flu vaccines annually. But humans are resilient and forgetful. A few months after the threat has passed, I think it will be back to normal, and this spring of 2020 will become a note in the history books. I hope it will encourage governments to be better prepared for future pandemics.”

Everyone will have some effect from having gone through this experience, and hopefully, be better for it. Want to pass some idle time immersed in stories of intrigue about art crimes and jewel thieves? Then be sure to read the article by Dr. Noah Charney on Throomers.com.