My son recently found an old pair of pliers in the bush and like every find he and his brothers make, it was considered his ‘treasure’. Since the find he hasn’t let it go and has been trying to find ways to use it to help both his dad and I in our outdoor projects. Then to our surprise a few days later, while we were enjoying an evening glass of wine and the boys running wild in the yard, he appeared with a long piece of wood and a nail he found.
He proceeded to to tell us how was going to demonstrate to us how to “effectively remove a nail from a plank of wood with his pliers”. Looking at each other with load of intrigue and a dash of concern since this was a 5year old who hadn’t been shown how to do this before this day.
Both hubby & I were impressed and it got me thinking about how over the past 2 years we have tried everything from home schooling, world schooling, formal schooling and unschooling so we can she some tips on how to cope with the current situation all parents have been thrust into……kids at home 24/7. Here are our Top 5 Tips for Parents to Surviving Covid-19 Lockdown Tip 1. Set time aside for FREE PLAY!
Let them run in the yard, give them sticks, stones, old tools, pots, pans anything they can use to create their own little game or scenario to enjoy. Letting a child use their imagination freely without restrictions or judgement gives you the amazing results. Research shows that through exploration and experimentation in free play, kids’ brains start to build the complex neural networks they will need for advanced decision making further down the road. Tip 2. Have a routine.
Make a timetable for the day, include recess and lunch time which will also limit the amount of unnecessary snacking that doesn’t occur normally. We have 3 solid meals for the day and 2 snack times one for morning tea and one for afternoon tea. Morning tea we have fruit and afternoon tea we have cookies or a muffin with a cuppa or milk. We need to ensure that just because we are home we do not overeat or overfeed the kids, try and stick to the usual routine this will not only help with staying healthy in iso but when its all over you wont have to struggle to get the kids back into a school routine. Tip 3. Use this time together to encourage your kids interests.
Has your child wanted to start a YouTube channel for ages? Have they wanted to get better at kicking a ball? Are they super into cooking? Whatever it is use this time at home to encourage and help them achieve these goals.
Usually everyday commitments are priority and by the time we are done with all the chores, work and everyday life, pouring a glass of red and letting the kids play video games is the default option to keep everyone happy. Yes, I know that there are parents out there that will gasp and go ‘no way, that’s not me” but to all those mamas and papa who are brave to admit that default option happens in their house some days too, a virtual fist bump to you guys.
Use this extra time together not only to help them achieve these goals they have set out for themselves but to also create memories to last a lifetime as well. Never underestimate the value of giving your time to your kids, they remember it over any materialistic gift you can ever buy for them. Tip 4. Don’t let them be free loaders, PUT THEM TO WORK!
When we lived in India, we got told so many times, “You must get a maid” in response to that both hubby & I always said “but why, we have 3 kids” ahahahaha Even when we lived in a hotel room & did have the cleaning crew at our beck and call, each kid had a chore to keep the room neat and tidy.
When they went to formal schooling, we gave them 1 chore each to do before bed but when we home schooled, they were given more responsibility. This rule of thumb can be used during #Iso2020, after all they are home 24/7 which ultimately creates more mess even when not intended. Set an extra job each for the kids to be responsible for during #Iso, you can even take it one step further like we do and make it a job that doesn’t have rewards or stickers if it’s completed, just plain old satisfaction of getting a job done and contributing to a clean and tidy home. Tip 5. Stay Nourished, body, mind & soul!
Being together can be overwhelming when you aren’t used to it, so keeping your body, mind and soul nourished during #Iso is vital. This is more of a tip for parents to do for themselves but getting kids involved if you want to is also encouraged. Schedule in time to keep the body moving, whether it’s a home gym workout, an early morning yoga sesh or a run to get a kebab, ensure that you set time aside to keep your body moving now more than ever. You can also play a game of backyard chasey or cricket with the kiddos, just make sure you stock up on balls or know your neighbours well from firsthand experience.
While you are at it, don’t neglect your mind and soul, they both need to be kept active as well. Use the time at home to learn a new skill or language or even study a short online course. You can even build on that hobby you never had time to do in between drop offs, pick-ups, work meetings etc. Now you can dedicate some more time to that and who knows your hobby can become something more.
As for your soul, it’s hard not to let all the doom and gloom, conspiracies and media bull crap get you down but it’s probably the best time to start a gratitude journal where each day you can try to find 5 things to be grateful for. Practice being present and enjoy a simple cuppa with the kids while soaking in the sunshine. Simple steps can nourish the soul, it is up to us to set time aside to do this though. I must add though that each family is different, and this has helped ours through 2 years of living in close quarters with our kids while we travelled around. Find what works for you guys and do just that. The only extra little piece of advice I would like to share is don’t alter your routine too much because it will be a huge pain in the you know what to try and readjust to life once all this blows over. Good Luck Mums & Dads, may you be granted all the patience during this time and a steady supply of cold ones and wine.