By: Kim Bone, Group Curriculum Manager
As I am sitting outside in the sun and sipping on a cup of tea, I have been thinking about the huge shift we have all had in our lives in the past ten days or so. We are constantly reminded by our government officials to stay home, stay safe and be kind. Now that we have been confined to our homes, many people would have spring cleaned their homes, tidied up their gardens, garages and cleaned the cars. Others, who have young children and/or still working from home have been trying to work out and establish a routine that works for you and your family.
Establishing a routine that works for everyone will help to make the weeks become more manageable and will ensure that everyone has their own time and space and make a happier home. Scheduling time in your day will help establish routines, especially if you have a young family.
Play with your children
Schedule in time during the day for playing. This is great for all involved and may include playing a board game, drawing or baking together. Remember short periods and often are better than too long and everyone loses interest.
Go on a Teddy Bear Hunt
Getting outside into nature and getting some fresh air is good for your body and mind – go for a walk in your neighbourhood and take up the ‘Teddy Bear Hunt’ challenge. Many people in neighbourhoods have hunted out teddy bears and other soft toys and placed them in windows for families to seek out on walks. If you are unable to venture outdoors, visit this Facebook page ‘Teddy Bear Hunt’ https://www.facebook.com/groups/2606836502869458
Encourage children to play by themselves
This is a good exercise for children to learn how to entertain themselves and build dispositions such as taking an interest, problem-solving or persisting with difficulty. For younger children, you may need to bring out old toys, set up an obstacle course or make a hut that your child can read books in. You may choose to use the iPad for short amounts of time.
Be available for your child
In times of uncertainty, it’s important to be there for your child. Sometimes it’s just a case of checking in and seeing what they are doing or give cuddles when they seek them out. Children can pick up your own anxieties even though you may think you are calm.
Keeping the child’s bath time and bedtime routine is really important. This gives your child a sense of security that they can predict the end of the day, and it is something safe that they are familiar too.
Working from home?
If both parents are working, try to split the workday so that one parent is able to be with the children. Many employers are very understanding and are also learning to work from home. Define a workspace for you and your partner.
Scheduling ‘alone time’
Scheduling ‘alone time’ during the day is also important. My husband and I have our own little bubbles that we spend about an hour each day in. In my bubble, I like to read or do an online gym class. In his bubble, he likes to watch YouTube clips.
this is a perfect time to start some rituals that may last only for the time we are in this rāhui, or you may continue them once life gets back to ‘normal’. Lighting a candle at the dinner table, talking about the best part of today or having a family movie time each day makes a hard time special.
So, stay home, be safe in your bubbles, and we look forward to seeing you all again soon.
Where to find help
- Up to date information on COVID19: https://covid19.govt.nz/
- Example of a Daily Schedule – http://www.education.govt.nz/school/health-safety-and-wellbeing/pastoral-care-and-wellbeing/talking-to-children-about-covid-19-coronavirus/
- Mental Health Foundation – www.mentalhealth.org.nz