As South Africa prepares for lockdown there are a few things in the forefront of my mind, not the least of which is keeping my family safe, healthy, sane and occupied. Here are some of my thoughts on a few things that may be on your mind too. Also an update on a few of the activities we that have been keeping us busy over the past few days… I will post every few days with activities that we have been trying, hopefully they will help you keep your family sane too.
Firstly, a few things that are on my mind (are these on your mind too?)…
- I really hope that everyone stops a moment and manages to think of others and the impact that their actions are having.
- I need to get a handle on my anxiety so that I don’t pass on ridiculous amounts of stress to my kids.
- How are we going to work from home and school our kids simultaneously with limited devices, time, patience and sanity?
- What happens after lockdown… surely if we just go back to normal we will just re-spread the disease?
Here are some of the ways I am trying to answer the above (MORE than happy to hear your thoughts and possible solutions).
- I’m really just trying to speak kindly and do what I feel is right… also stand up for what I believe is right (so normal behavior really) what else can I do. People will react strangely in this time of crisis and we don’t know where they are coming from. Try as far as possible to reach out to those who don’t have as much as we do and share.
- Lot’s of deep breathing, taking time to exercise daily and meditate if possible. Also I need to constantly refocus on what is truly important (family and what is in front of me in that moment). I am listening to a special episode of Dr Rangan Chattergee’s podcast (Feel better Live more) about stress during the COVID 19 pandemic… try it out. Also I am limiting my social media and news reading.
- This remains to be seen… but basically just know as a parent you won’t be able to do it all. Focus on what is important (probably work to keep your primary income going) and keeping the family happy and healthy. Perhaps a little prep each evening for the coming day… an independent activity (if age appropriate for your kids), an educational activity and some TV time or mini project or something where your child is away from you so you can get a conference call or whatever out the way… you know, do what works for you. Balance, moderation and sanity, also prioritise. Remember two things, you are not a teacher so just do what you can and most everyday activities have an educational element to them so try add an element of learning into tasks you are already doing.
- Well I am choosing to not think about this… I’ll just have to see how things unfold and trust that people who know more about these things than I do will make the right decisions. It is hard for my very A-type personality but I need to let go of a few things.
I have also made a list of all the things I am very thankful for at the moment and all the good things that may come from this lockdown (I am not going to bore you with this but it really did help me to shift my mindset, so I would recommend making one).
Following are some of the activities we have been doing for the past few days…
- Ella (4yrs old) and I made pasta from scratch. My husband and I love making pasta together. Usually we do it after the kids have gone to bed and we pour a glass of wine and spend a wonderful long evening bonding and making delicious dinner. This was NOT the same. Due to a lot of man handling of the dough (she does love to kneed) the end result was rather leathery and in general rolling the pasta with a 4year old may have aged me… I think I will save this activity for after their bedtime in future.
- Bear hunt… we love the book and we know it by heart. My lovely friend posted the below photo on Instagram. Her complex/estate decided to put teddy bears in their windows so that when the children are out walking (usually they would go with friends but are now walking alone) they can have a bear hunt. I initiated it in our complex. Ella loved this and really got super into it by taking a book and pen with us. She drew pictures of windows and gave ticks and crosses for the houses with and without teddies. Our complex didn’t put too many up on day one but day two was much better. Ella decided to leave a sweet on the doorstep of all the houses that participated (very kind but I did text each home owner to warn them).
- Painting… always a win in our house. We just did free painting for Ella while Mila explored the garden.
- Exercise… In a desperate attempt to make dinner without interruption I put some exercise videos on for Ella while I made dinner in the adjoining kitchen… she LOVED it and we have done it a few times since. I think I’ll actually join her with this activity next time.
- We made a baby play area. Honestly this whole crawling thing is great but very tiring and makes getting any chores done impossible. She frequently breaks out but that is great for her development on so many levels (less great for my general anxiety but you know, silver linings). As long as I’m in the area I can get some dishes or food or similar done while she plays.
- Duplo… probably the best purchase I have made in my adult life… both kids occupied meaningfully at the same time for a few minutes (can you say hot coffee).
Good luck out there parents… you are doing a great job! Send some ideas my way but I will keep posting what is happening on our side.