It is now clear to everyone (or almost!): We are experiencing a situation of absolute extraordinary nature. Nobody could have expected it, few were prepared but, today, we all have to react and behave with responsibility, civic sense and intelligence. This means remodelling and reorganizing the rules and daily habits. Among these, in families (even more so if the parents are separated/divorced), we must ask ourselves how to manage the daily lives of children, the right to attend children, how to organize homeschooling and so on.
A whole new reality to adapt to with maximum speed. Of course, neither the law nor the agreements between the parents nor the judgments of the judge indicate how to behave “in times of Coronavirus”. Even the decrees and ordinances issued by the individual Italian regions, at the moment, do not establish precisely how parents – separated and not – should behave (except, of course, some general rules such as that which prohibits entering/leaving from some regions or cities). Therefore, the organization is in the hands of mom and dad who – more than ever at this stage – must leave their “reasons” and theirs aside and think about which solution is better for children, for themselves and for the whole society. First of all,
The most reasonable solution is to let the children stay with the parent who has the possibility of doing smart-working. If, on the other hand, both parents are forced to continue to go to the workplace, it is necessary to resort to the help of the grandparents or the babysitter. It must be kept in mind, however, that grandparents are the weakest subjects in this situation and it is not fair to expose them to risk despite their unconditional love for grandchildren could lead them not to consider the danger they run. Parents who cannot work from home should, therefore, more reasonably, rely on the help of the babysitter. But it is obvious that not everyone can bear this expense, above all because we are in a moment in which, probably, the revenues will decrease for everyone. Luckily, the state is planning to intervene in support of families by offering vouchers, that is, a sum of money to meet the educational needs of the children (which, in this situation, translate into the need for daily care). There was talk of a voucher worth € 600.00 per month for 6 months. Parents of children under the age of 12 will be able to ask for it and it can only be used to pay regularly hired babysitters. Provided that they want to go to foreign houses. Parents of children under the age of 12 will be able to ask for it and it can only be used to pay regularly hired babysitters. Provided that they want to go to foreign houses. Parents of children under the age of 12 will be able to ask for it and it can only be used to pay regularly hired babysitters. Provided that they want to go to foreign houses.
In the same way, the state is planning the possibility for mom or dad to ask the employer for parental leave, in the event that the couple have children under 12 years old and both are continuing to work. That is when there is not a parent who can take care of children (perhaps taking advantage of smart-working). The leave days should be 12 but could increase if – as likely – the closure of the schools continues. Anyone who applies for and receives parental leave should still continue to take at least 30% of their daily wages. Special consideration for families where one of the parents is a doctor or nurse: the other parent, in fact, could be entitled to more than 12 days of leave.
For both interventions – the voucher and parental leave – we are waiting for the OK from the Chamber and, afterwards, it will be possible to proceed with a decree in the Council of Ministers, hopefully by Wednesday or Thursday of this week. Also because the problems related to the care of minors can only increase given that, with all schools closed, it will be necessary to introduce homeschooling, that is lessons taught telematically by means of the computer and television. In this way, it will be essential to supervise the children (at least the youngest or least responsible ones) so that they can follow the lessons and keep up with the school curriculum.
Another important problem to manage in the new daily life is the attendance of children with the parent they don’t live with. In principle, reading the decrees and ordinances in force, one would think that – if the parents live in two different regions or within the “red areas” – the right to visit with minors should be suspended, in reason of a higher interest which is that of the health of all citizens and of the containment of the virus as much as possible. Space, therefore, also in this case, to the technology that allows us to be “close” with photographs, Skype, FaceTime and so on. Of course, maximum flexibility and collaboration on the part of the parent with whom the minors live is essential, which must be as much available as possible to facilitate (even better,
If, on the other hand, both parents live in the same city, the visit schedule with the minors can be respected while keeping in mind, and without violating it, the general rule that requires you to leave the house only when strictly necessary. Of course, weekends out of town, cinema, Sundays at the mall (as long as someone is still open), dinners at the restaurant and any other occasion for gathering more people are banned. These are different and passing rules, which mom and dad must respect. In other words, this is a period that must be faced with maximum responsibility (civic and parental) and that must give way – more than ever – to common sense and collaboration.