Family activities to help “thrive” on lockdown

Today is day 10 since lockdown, we are taking it a day at a time, although we seem to have gotten the hang of things. The first day was the most difficult. I found it frustrating that our daily rhythm and routine were now absent. I had no plan in place for this new normal, with my personal space in threat, my anxiety was skyrocketing.

I had to gain a new perspective and adapt fast. The situation was what it was, still is, so I might as well make the most of it. Adapting meant finding creative indoorsy things to draw from. Being both an extrovert and an introvert this was not necessarily a hard task. The introvert in me has taken over and solitary activities such as writing, sketching, crafting, sewing and journaling are all helping calm my anxieties.

Lower your expectations

I have watched my husband working from home and it is no easy task. I do my best to keep Shay occupied and remind her that daddy is working but she doesn’t understand why he is home and cannot play. As soon as he is on phone she seems to need him the most and I can almost feel his frustration!

Keep in mind that it is hard for kids to comprehend what’s happening. Every so often I have to explain why she cannot go to kindergarten or the playground, or see her friends. There is a lot of quibbling, laughter, frustrations, emotional outburst and forgiveness. It is important to remember how much we love the people we are on lockdown with and not unleash our frustrations (which are a lot lately) on them.

I tried to teach Shay how to hold her colouring pencils “correctly.” It seems the easiest and most natural thing, I cannot recall a time that I did not know how to do it! I was beginning to get frustrated, I had to take a reflecting break. I’m 34 years old, I have had all the time to learn the things I think come naturally. She just turned 3, She is not developmentally there yet but still I foolishly expect it of her! What does she need to hold a pen properly for? My expectations have been lowered and I am being extra mindful of her still developing brain, abilities and inabilities.

Social distancing in the nature

Human beings do not thrive in isolation, we are social creatures. The necessary measures that have been taken to slow down this pandemic have seen our social lives come to a standstill. With this I would naturally expect some of us are feeling lonesome. Anxieties are high and now more than ever our mental health is being put to test. In times of great anxiety and fear, I find that the best place to turn to is the natural world. Nature vibrates an energy that has an immediate calming and grounding effect.

I feel fortunate and grateful to have a place outside our home that we can spend some of our isolation time. I feel grateful that we have a car to get us to this places. Going out to live a little and make the best out of this lockdown almost feels like a cold gesture but we have to embrace life to the fullest. This pandemic has pushed to light whats important and how we take most things forgranted .

We try to go out to the woods, the mountains, the lake…. as much as we can. This is not only good for our psychological well being but also for bonding as a family. We are naturally an outdoorsy family so this helps bring some normalcy back into our lives, as we try to redefine and adapt to the new norm.

All you need for this activity is your family and a good spirit . A picnic, a toddler bike or a ball are all optional but good fun. This might prove difficult without a car, but we are lucky to live in such a greencity, so maybe a short or long walk through the local park, while practicing social distancing could be an option too. Throwing your window open to let in some fresh air is also always a great idea.

Crafting

Kids are super easy to impress and they don’t care for perfection, so you really don’t have to be good at this, but you do need a lot of patience. Unlike in nature, there are rules involved and we all know that most young children have selective hearing and do what they want anyway. Please don’t put the glue in your mouth, you cannot use it as nail polish either! This is the grown-up scissors, use your own. Please don’t cut your hair! We just spent an hour making this, I cannot let you destroy it! This are phrases I have used repeatedly!

Keep your expectations in check, there will be a lot of bickering, laughter, frustration and a mess, so you need your good friend patience and a light mood, otherwise what started as good fun might turn ugly. I will tell you this, a few times I have had actually regret on starting an activity but mostly it’s good fun.

Pinterest is amazing for all sort of ideas.! Keep in mind the age of your child when you chose to craft things that need more time. When we crafted this rainy cloud, Shay stayed focused for a good 10 minutes, after that I was on my own. Crafting the chicks was good fun, easy and quick so she stayed engaged, here is a tutorial.

Build a fort

I have never met a kid who did not like building forts to daydream in, heck, I love it too. The wonderful thing about this activity is there are no rules involved!

We made one and allowed our imagination to run wild. Ours was Shays kindergarten. All her stuffed animals were the other kids and we, the childminders. She took me through her normal kindergarten day, imitating her caretakers and nailing it. It was the best fun, she ended up taking her nap in there. Pinterest can teach you all about building forts too.

Books

We enjoy having a cuddle and reading as many books as demanded. At times we cannot oblige all her demands which is met with tears. At times she reads to us, which is equal amounts of funny and adorable.

Ravensburger tiptoi books are in my humble opinion the greatest, most interactive, easy to follow winner books! They come with an electronic audio pen which kids can use to touch different elements, with options for games, songs or a narrated story. These are simply amazing and fun. Shay enjoys doing this with her dad or by herself.

I’m not exactly sure why I never participate in these particular books, come to think of it, she has never asked me to, maybe it’s a daddy thing! The other day she peed herself laughing so hard with her dad, that was like the 5th time it happened! It occurred to me that it has never happened with me! Got me thinking, am I the uncool parent?……I digress. If you are interested in Ravensburger tiptoi books, check them out here

Screen time

We did minimal to no screen time before this whole corona mess. Lockdown is so far removed from normal that we have had to relax some rules.

On some days, there are no midday naps taken, these can be rather long. On such days she gets to watch a whole hour of Peppa pig while the rest of us have a well needed break from parenting.

A few other options

I find it entertaining watching my daughter play without interrapting her or joining in. Her personality shines through and everyday I learn a new thing on what she is about. Plus I get to pay attention to how her speech and movement has developed!

I try and involving her in the never ending chores like, cooking, cleaning, folding… and delegating little tasks like watering plants or helping unload the spoons from the dishwasher which is a great way of building her confidence. I kid you not she gets such a sence of accomplishment and pride from being my little helper.

The other day I laid out our picnic blanket in her room, presented her with papers, brushs and paint and left her to it. The only thing I asked of her was to stay on the blanket. She stayed at it for longer than an hour, needless to say she painted her whole face, hands and feet. It worked great, which is what she is doing now as I write this.

Lastly just remember to actually spend time together, not just be in the same house. Dance, laugh n be silly, meet them in their childish world. This are hard times but you are not alone. We are all in this together.

Take care of yourself

It is hard to parent when anxious, scared, deprived of personal space or driven by emotions that don’t feed the spirit positively. It is very important to take little breaks and do little things just for you. Things that feed your individual self.

I have had to adapt mine to things I can do on lockdown. I stretch myself out on the floor in my daughters’ room to get some sunlight and silence, this can last anywhere from 10 seconds to 10 minutes depending on what said daughter is doing. I stay focused on gratitude and acknowledge how these limitations are wearing me down. I remind myself that this is not an I problem but something we are all facing collectively.

I journal, sketch, hide in the bathroom and drink more coffee than necessary, at times I drink a glass of wine and listen to my audiobooks. We all have to stay above water, do what we need to, to ensure that we are not just surviving, feed our spirits and make sure that we are thriving. So go on and do what you need to do for yourself, so you can be there for your fam.

Reading The diary of Anne Frank, I could not comprehend how they survived on such close proximity without going insane! It does feel like we are in a lighter version of that scene.

What are some ways you have adapted during this trying period? Sending you love dear reader.

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