Lockdown and social isolation measures mean that millions of parents across the globe will be spending extended and considerable time at home with their children. Some will be trying to work, while others will be trying to keep children busy and entertained, and keep up the studies of their older kids too. There’s a lot to consider, and, as many world leaders have said, this time will ask a lot of us, and it won’t often be easy.
But how can you weather the storm in the best way possible? Here are some of our suggestions for happy home life in during the outbreak.
Firstly, can you embrace this time and turn it into a unique adventure?
For some families, this might be the first chance they’ve had of spending quality time together, without guilt or other commitments hanging over their heads. Have you got a holiday home, caravan or secluded campsite you could escape to? Perhaps scoop up the children, a car full of food and games, and turn the next few months into a period of discovery and getting to know one another again.
Talk to your kids about how this situation presents challenges, but also opportunities. What would they like each day to look like? What things would they like to do most? What would make them happy? What would they like to learn? Treat your family like a community, make decisions together and allow the children the freedom to explore their passions at this unique time.
Break the rules, make new ones or abandon them altogether
Our daily lives are usually filled with routine and structure. Schedules that enable us to get everything done and rules that ensure we do not live in total chaos. But the world is in chaos. And now is perhaps the perfect time to experiment with a daily routine that doesn’t conform to societal expectations or limits set by others. So go wild, break the rules, have meals at different times, baths at lunchtime, sit on the floor to eat your breakfast, wear balldresses all day, go camping in the garden, have movie nights in the middle of the week and stay up late for a midnight feast.
Get the children involved too. Allow each child the chance to design a day just as they’d like it, to set the rules – as silly as they want – and to make decisions. Really commit to putting it all on them to see what fun they have and what they can come up with. It’s a wonderful learning opportunity to discover what things your children really care about and also how you might be able to adopt some of the best rules when normal life resumes.
Create learning windows, but leave time for play
For those children that will need some structure, or older kids with school work to get through, create a daily schedule that doesn’t feel to constricting. Designate an activity or working session for mornings and afternoons, interspersed with time for outdoor play, baking, free play and reading. For older children write their schedule up on a board or chart so they can see it, and know what’s coming, and get them involved in planning their days.
Inform, but don’t frighten
Take some time to talk to children about what’s happening, both at home, school and globally. But don’t frighten them. Try to remember that the children will be picking up on the anxiety all around them, even if they’re not articulating it, and the worst thing you can do is to assume they don’t know anything. If you need them to get onboard with these strange times then you need to respect their need for explanations and information.
Finally, go easy on yourself, and them
Being stuck at home with the kids, especially when you can’t go anywhere or see anyone, and without a break is hard. It’s hard on everyone. Do not underestimate the challenge or undersell how hard it will be for you. Anxiety and depression are likely to rise during the outbreak and that is entirely to be expected. For many, many mums, sanctuary and sanity lies in the village – the team of people who support you daily and who provide both childcare and company to fill your week and keep you busy. When this is removed, it leaves a vast, and often frightening, gap. So, go gently with yourself – the television is not a monster, and it’s ok if you shout, even if you shout a lot. Isolation and lockdown isn’t about perfection and beautiful images of your home-schooling creativity – it’s about safety, and survival. And that’s just quite enough for now.
Best Five Insta Accounts to Follow for Pre-School Activities
Becky’s Treasure Baskets
Invitation to Play
And if you’re in the UAE, then head to https://www.instagram.com/themothershipdxb/ – who will be running storytelling sessions from her home, every morning at 9am.
And also, find support during tough days with https://www.instagram.com/mumologist/ – a psychologist specialising in parenting and a great source of sense and kindness.