As all eyes are on what is a completely unexpected world event, taking this unique time in human history to get back to basics with your family could be a gift. Let’s face it, life is busy! Right now though, as self-isolation becomes a thing, learning to lean into the situation and make the best of it is what your children will remember one day. They will! What you do and how you structure your family life will be the yardstick your child uses when thinking and feeling about this event when it fades out of active daily life.
Here’s some tips and tricks to get you thinking about how you can manage this situation in your family as best as possible. Feel free to share your own with us too.
Put stuff away starting now
No, not toilet paper or pasta, but toys! Leave out the bare minimum and put the rest away. Go back to bringing out a bit of stuff at a time – that old train set that hasn’t been touched in months will be much more exciting when it’s been out of sight for a couple of weeks.
Start a family book
It’s incredible how the hours simply while away when everyone is engaged in a good book. Perhaps there’s a series you haven’t read or a book you’ve all been talking about for a while. No individual sneaky reading between family reads – no one’s allowed to get ahead and the promise of watching the movie at the end – with snacks (if you can get them) is a good motivator.
Each decide on 3 new skills you’d like to learn and then teach
In the usual busyness of family life, it’s hard to take the time to master a skill. Maybe it’s a skateboard trick, learning to finely dice some vegetables, following a new recipe, making your own soap, making a new friend or learning to stop bullying in its tracks. Get busy on Google and figure out what you need to read or watch to get your new skill going – and then teach to one other person (at least) in your family. Oh – and if you want to learn that friendship skill or some verbal self-defense that does stop bullying in its tracks then our Kids’ Guide – Bullying, Teasing & all that stuff and our Kids’ Guide – Friends, Fitting In & and all that stuff are crackers.
Get grateful – it’s the anxiety antidote
It’s true, something as simple as active gratitude can help to give perspective and bring attention to the good stuff – even in a crisis. Every day, everyone must show and/or say gratitude for something in your home and out your home. Weirdest gratitude for something outside your home wins. Perhaps it’s the Ribbon Worm – gross little critter – go on, look it up. Being grateful for every creature and happening – even the icky ones – can be challenging but it’s fun to think up reasons why we should be grateful for their existence. Maybe you could read about the amazing health care workers working around the clock saving lives, incredible scientists looking to solve all sorts of world problems – including the virus, the local shop-keeper keeping aside needed supplies for when our more vulnerable run out of essentials. You won’t have to look far – and make sure these gratitude moments are shared. You might like to take a look through our Gratitude Mini-Guide for some more suggestions.
It’s no surprise that the weeks and months to come will bring challenges – and opportunities – to every one of our families. As we start to think ahead to what a period of isolation could actually mean, it’s good to work out the positives first that help everyone in your home to feel safe and emotionally steady. We wish you and your family safe and healthy through these trying times.