As the Coronavirus spreads rapidly across geographical boundaries, quarantine or self-isolation appears to be the only solution towards preventing “community transmission,” and flattening the infection curve. Citizens across the country are mandated to be in a 21 day complete lockdown.
Parents are working from home and children are to remain indoors with no school, day-care, outdoor play or extra-curricular activities. With no activities to engage children, being indoors could get tedious and frustrating. With routines disrupted there is a great need to find things to do together.
Here are some fun and meaningful ways to help enjoy quality time with our families and enhance the special bonds of love we share.
- Exercise Together
Besides the numerous physical benefits, exercise also has a positive impact on emotional wellbeing. It boosts the secretion of dopamine, serotonin and endorphins – the feel-good hormones.
With gyms, parks and other outdoor recreational activities closed, parents (and children) can do a lot of fun things together. Cosmic Kids Yoga helps practise yoga asanas, mindful meditation and breathing exercises as a family using the fun, child-friendly instructional videos. It is healthy screen time for children. The free 7M workout app (both apple and android) is a wonderful resource for indoor workouts.
- Organise Your Home
Our hectic work schedule and an equally busy social calendar makes ‘organising our homes’ a bothersome and avoidable chore. Use this downtime to tackle one corner of your home a day. Select one chore a day – for example it could be arranging bookshelves (remember to set aside books that your children have outgrown for donation), organising your and your child’s closet, etc.
Instead of perceiving it as a chore, make it enjoyable by getting the children involved. Let them have ownership in how to arrange and organise things around the home. This way we enable responsible behaviour and sense of belonging in our children.
- Cook Together
Cooking is a fun, sensory-rich activity for the entire family. Try out new recipes from food blogs/YouTube videos. Or connect via zoom/skype video calls with grandparents or friends and ask them for family recipes that, because of our busy schedules, haven’t been tried in a long time. Get children involved in the preparation – ask them to measure ingredients, chop vegetables (preferably use a child-friendly knife), set the table, and so on.
Cooking and eating a dish that they have helped to prepare enhances the children’s sense of accomplishment.
- Play Board Games
“A family that plays together stays together.” Board games are not just fun, but also introduce various crucial life skills like strategy, teamwork, collaboration, planning, consensus building, competitiveness and resilience. Classic board games like Cluedo, Mastermind, Monopoly, and Scrabble are sure to keep the entire family engaged for hours, without any digital distractions.
- Enjoy a Movie Night
With plenty of online streaming platforms, we now have access to tons of digital entertainment content at our fingertips. Often, most families retreat to separate corners, with a gadget in each member’s hand.
Organise a movie night and watch a film together. Make some popcorn, take out the blankets and cuddle together as a family, for a memorable movie night. There are excellent movie recommendation resources such as IMDB, Rotten tomatoes, etc.
- Explore the World – Virtually
With the Corona outbreak, travel is off everyone’s agenda – it may be months or even a year before people will travel as freely as they did. Yet, we can still explore the world – albeit virtually. Several famous tourist destinations around the world like the Louvre museum offer virtual tours. We can watch these tours together with the family and imagine that we’re on a ‘virtual’ family vacation.
- Have an Indoor Picnic/Tea Party
Picnics are a great way to unwind, relax and bond. Pack a few picnic-themed snacks like lemonade, sandwiches, samosas, etc. and have an indoor picnic on the balcony or terrace. We can have a high tea party in the evenings, with a delicious lemon ginger tea (that also boosts immunity) and finger foods. Let’s ensure that the tea party or indoor picnic is a time free of gadgets and engaging communication.
- Write Letters to Each Other
In today’s digital age, the art of writing letters has been nearly lost. We can revive this age-old tradition by expressing our love and gratitude for our family members by writing letters to each other. Children love this activity as they can draw, colour and express their love for mom, dad, siblings and grandparents. We can look back at these letters later and reminisce the time we exhibited positivity and expressed resilience as a family.
- Bring out your Creativity
Doing a craft together – painting, puppet making, loom bands, pot painting – is not only soothing and relaxing but also helps to develop the child’s creative skills.
- Dance Together
When was the last time we danced with our child or life-partner? Let go of the inhibitions, and dance together. (www.gonoodle.com is an excellent resource to master easy dance moves in a few minutes)
Self quarantine and curfews, instead of Restriction, can be about Reconnecting with our Children & Family members.
It can be tempting to let children sit in front of the television, phone or tablet for a large period of the mandated curfew. Excessive screen time can potentially impact their mood, making them feel lazy, restless and withdrawn. It will certainly not deepen our bonds as a family. It’s a time for all of us to tap into our star within. Let’s use the downtime to reconnect with our family and to emerge stronger, resilient and closer than ever before. Let’s stay healthy, safe and positive.