Lockdown: Prevent Your Family from Going Stir Crazy
The sudden onslaught of lockdown measures put in place to quell the spread of coronavirus has drastically altered life as we know it. Families around the globe are beginning to feel the tension that the quarantine is creating. Kids are bored. Parents may be stressed about finances or their jobs. And you’re all stuck together at home, into the foreseeable future.
Perhaps it’s time to view the government-mandated lockdown in a more positive light. Rather than looking at this quarantine as akin to a prison sentence, consider it as an opportunity for your family to become stronger than ever before. Here are just a few simple ways that your family can spend time together without going stir crazy, while also staying connected with (and safely distanced from) others outside of the home.
Maintain a Daily Structure
It’s important to note that, while the term “stir crazy” sounds innocuous enough, it actually has some serious implications. Prolonged periods of isolation can significantly impact moods, leading to depression, stress, and general feelings of hopelessness. In order to preserve your mental health during the lockdown, and that of your children, finding ways to combat this restlessness is imperative.
But preventing your family from going stir crazy may be easier than meets the eye. In fact, keeping your family entertained and stimulated during quarantine is similar to the challenges of the winter season, when we also spend a lot of time indoors. At least the weather is improving now, and we can take plenty of family walks in order to break the monotony of social distancing.
As daily walks become part of the “new normal” for your children, try to also preserve what they had before. Avoid allowing everyone in the household to sleep in and wear their PJs around the house. Instead, your family should follow a basic routine, where you all wake up, eat breakfast together, get dressed, and make your beds. The simple act of adhering to a structure brings us a sense of normalcy during these stressful times.
Make Every Night Family Movie Night
For our children, technology is an integral part of a daily routine, and most attentive parents understand the importance of limiting screen time: the excessive use of smartphones, tablets, and the like can hinder our children’s’ sleep, promote a dangerously sedentary lifestyle, and foster social isolation. Yet, in the wake of this global pandemic, all bets are off.
Children living with the threat of COVID-19 are physically isolated from their friends and peers, and those oft-criticized screens have become a virtual lifeline. Technology has suddenly become vital for lockdown survival, serving as a connection to the busy lives you once had and perhaps took for granted. And you can embrace technology as a family, by equating “screen time” with “family time.”
One fun idea is by bringing the movie theatre experience to your living room. Cinemas are closed for the foreseeable future, but you can easily replicate the experience at home. No matter the size of your house or apartment, a good family movie night on the couch only requires a few key components. Of course, popcorn is a must, and movie theatre candy adds to the fun. Your kids can craft admission tickets for every family member, and even print them out for added authenticity. Finally, give your home theatre a luxury upgrade with plenty of pillows and cosy blankets.
As for what you should watch, the possibilities are endless. Every family has its go-to favorites on DVD, but streaming new films is also an option. By making your TV a smart TV using various accessories and hardware, you can access a virtually endless array of choices via entertainment-based apps such as Netflix, Disney+, and Hulu. If you want to watch movies with friends or family, you could always use Netflix’s new Party feature. It allows multiple viewers to stream the same media at the same time as well as chat about it in real-time.
Play Games and Organize Your Home
Of course, taking technology breaks is vital to our family’s wellbeing, even during these strange lockdown times. When your family gets bored from just watching TV and sitting around, find ways to invigorate their minds. Consider the benefits of board games, puzzles, and creating art like these sun catchers which we love. When was the last time you had family colouring time, for example?
Another way to quell quarantine boredom without involving screens is to clean and/or organize. The entire family could work together to organize and sanitize kitchen cabinets, placing unwanted pantry items in a donation box. Next, you can move on to closets throughout the house, and put your children in charge of a room that isn’t their own. It will make them feel more responsible and grown-up.
Cultivate Your Child’s Inner Master Chef
During your pantry cleaning project, it’s very likely that you’ll find some interesting, long-forgotten ingredients. It’s the perfect time to help your children hone their culinary skills. No matter what you’re cooking or baking, you can easily find age-appropriate tasks for each junior chef in your home. Toddlers can help measure ingredients and add them to a mixing bowl. Older kids may be able to work with a knife, chopping or mincing ingredients as needed.
Making a meal together is a double-duty task that may help alleviate boredom while also bringing your family closer together. In many ways, this quarantine is an unprecedented opportunity to strengthen your family’s bonds. The happiness and togetherness we cultivate during these trying times will serve our children well in the future, and could even become their new normal.