If you operate your business from your home or you were forced to switch due to the pandemic, it could get a bit challenging. You want to keep your business alive but you also have to manage your children who are out of school. As overwhelming as this may be, there are many opportunities that you could explore. In the midst of the uncertainties surrounding COVID-19, I encourage you to flip the coin. Look on the positive side.
Take a deep breath for a moment. Forget about the anxiety and stress that you and your family may be experiencing. Time to flip the coin and take some positive steps.
If you are like me with children, you are probably hearing their constant cries:
“Mummy, I’m hungry.”
“Mummy, I’m bored. There’s nothing to do.”
“Can we play outside?”
“Can we just go for a drive?”
So I’ve heard these and more. And as frustrating and tiring their cries are, there’s hope. You can still attend to your business with your children at home. Get creative and do activities with them. Your children have the time so why not? Here are some basic life skills to teach them during this time.
Basic Self Defense
I don’t mean teaching karate or judo in your home. I am referring to proper hygiene so they keep themselves safe and healthy during this pandemic. Here are some steps to encourage:
- Wash your hands regularly, with soap and water.
- Sneeze into a tissue and throw it away immediately.
- Sneeze in the crook of your elbow.
- Practice social distancing by keeping at least 6 ft (approximately 2 metres) from others.
- Use hand sanitizer.
- Make a solution with bleach and water and have them sanitize doorknobs and countertops.
Are there certain foods your children should be eating more at this time? Let your children understand the importance of taking care of their health, especially at this time. Teach them the health benefits of increasing their intake of fruits and vegetables. These help build your immune system. If you have picky eaters, throw them in a smoothie or burger patties. By the way, I added beet to patties and my children had no clue. Shhh 🤫
As parents (especially mothers), we want to do everything for our children. And understandably so, since we have been their caregivers from birth. But, the best way to prepare them for life is to teach them to do their own work. Give them the tools and the instructions and see how they do. Feel free to guide them along the way but let them learn by doing things for themselves. How much does your child know about COVID-19? Are they watching the news? Why not give them an activity to research some basic info about it? Turn it into a fun activity so they don’t feel stressed out about it.
This is a big one! Even us adults have challenges with this. Let’s face it. We have 24 hours in a day but we still don’t maximize. We spend hours on social media or in front of the television. Then realize that we didn’t get certain important tasks done. So since we have more time on our hands, let’s teach our children how to manage it. (And we could learn a thing or two in the process😉)
Some teachers are doing online classes with their children. My son’s teacher is one of them so from 10-12 every day, he’s ‘in school’. But this is not every parent’s reality. So how do you keep your children on track so they don’t waste their time? Sit with them and come up with a routine. Something like this could work. To get your children more motivated, turn this into a challenge. Give your children a reward at the end of the week if they stuck to the routine.
⏰ Wake up
🛏️ Make up your bed
🥯 Have breakfast
💻 Do a fun educational activity
⏱️ Take a break
📚 Do another activity
🍽️ Have lunch
🧹 Wash the dishes or do another chore
🌞 Get outside (if you can) *
* If you can’t go outside, pull out the indoor games like Ludo, Scrabble, and Snakes & Ladders.
As mentioned above, we are guilty of doing everything for our children. And that includes making decisions for them. But we want our children to have this basic skill to survive. So here are some questions to ask your children.
- Should you wear a face mask when you are in public spaces? Ask them to explain their answer.
- You feel like you have a fever. What should you do?
- Your friend sends you a WhatsApp message. It states that there are X new cases in your country. How do you react?
- Believe what the message says and share it with your contacts.
- Ask your parents if it’s true.
- Check a reputable website like unicef.org or cdc.gov to get the facts.
With the current pandemic, there’s a lot of panic buying. People are also being more selective with their purchases. If you have to take your children to the grocery with you, use it as a teaching moment. Show them different brands of the same item and teach them how to compare prices. If you are keeping them home (wiser choice), plan your grocery list together. Let them suggest items to buy. Discuss which are the better options and why.
Ok parents, your children are home and have lots of time. Bring them into the kitchen with you. Teach them some basics eg how to boil rice, grate cheese, cut vegetables, and bake their favourite snacks. This is an excellent strategy to get them to follow instructions. Also, when they get involved, they are more inclined to eat what they make. Also, you can take the time to teach about measurements and the health benefits of the ingredients. Turn it into a fun time!
I’ve heard some friends say that they are going to start growing their food at this time. For reasons such as possible scarcity and health risks, they are so inclined. And why not? You could take this time to start a kitchen garden with your children. Grow some herbs and a few crops. Use items in your kitchen to get started e.g. the top part of a carrot or the bottom part of chives. Sow seeds from your tomatoes, pumpkin and sweet peppers. No need to leave the house to buy seedlings.😉
If you have sufficient yard space, let each child have his or her own garden. Your children will be responsible for watering the seeds or seedlings and managing their projects. Also, show them how to conserve water with the use of a watering can or container.
Many families are negatively affected during a pandemic. Businesses are closed. Schools are closed. Income from rents and other debtors are delayed. And the list goes on. Teach your children how to show support during this time. As a family, you could decide to contact a family a day just to say hi. Use tools like WhatsApp video, Skype or FaceTime so they see a familiar face. Another way to show compassion is to take a treat to an elderly neighbour. There are so many little ways we can show compassion during this time.
Such a big word! The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines resilience as “an ability to recover from or adjust easily to misfortune or change”. How are your children coping at this time? Do they feel hopeless, stressed, scared? Are you showing them that we can overcome this? You can help your children by teaching them independence and decision-making (discussed above). Also, make your home a haven where they feel comfortable sharing their feelings. This is no easy time for any of us but we will survive it. Teach them that it’s ok to be scared. But show them how to turn their fear into faith, hope, and positivity. Explain to them that challenges will come but our reaction is what counts.
These are some basic life skills that every parent should instill in their children. They are important not only during this time but throughout their lives. The sooner we teach them, the more prepared they will be to face the world. Having to spend so much time with your children, you will learn so many NEW things about them.
Stay positive parents!