What a time we are living in. Nothing is quite as it was, nor will it ever be the same again.
During lockdown, it might well be the last thing on your mind while you are with your family 24/7. I ask though, as this is a question that has been asked of me by many parents, how are you fostering family connection, family time? Those moments that perhaps would have come from a day out, a visit to see friends or family or a meal out.
When we are not wrestling with getting our family to follow a routine or trying to balance everything that comes with home schooling, running your own business or trying to work from home, as well as cooking, cleaning and finding time for yourself! How are you spending your ‘down time’ other than being permanently exhausted?
There is no such thing as ‘normal’ right now, although we are all doing our best to foster our ‘new’ normal. Uncertainty coupled with the emotions that this time is unfurling results in thoughts around, do our children really understand what is going on? Are emotions spilling over both, yours and theirs? Connection with our families is a priority, we are our child(ren)’s normal.
My thoughts and feelings on family time right now is to look for the smaller ways to bring connection rather than bigger gestures. The family time that brings smiles, the hugs, sharing in a common understanding that we as a family, ARE, all in this together.
Here are some of my ideas of how to share moments with your children and family, some they might be more enthusiastic about than others! This list is not exhaustive and I know you will have your own ideas to add.
- Special family dinners perhaps with candles and fancy napkins
- Create a family coat of arms
- ‘Visiting’ other countries through their food, films and craft
- Cooking together, baking yes this is obvious but can you teach your kid(s) to cook a family meal?
- Sharing household chores
- Creating a wish jar of things you want to do once lock down is over
- Taking a walk with only one of your children (if you have more than one) to walk and talk
- Family challenges such as who can build the tallest tower with only spaghetti and marshmallows
- Board games
- Movie Nights
- Keeping a family journal of what you have done during the Corona Virus lockdown of 2020
- Art night – get the clay out or the paint and create something
- A colouring table cloth that you all sit and colour
- Creating art or doing crafts together
- Learning a language together
- Putting on a show
- Building a family blog/website and then everyone contributing
- Camping in the lounge room (family sleep over)
- ‘Posting’ notes under each others pillows
- Writing letters (not a text or an email) to family and friends
- Cuddling on the sofa
- Writing a newsletter/newspaper for your street
- A sunflower growing competition
- Doing a photo prompts challenge together
- Learning something new as a family
- Family evenings spent with extended family on a video chat
- Planting seeds and tending to and cultivating these
- Are you musical? Can you compose a lockdown song?
- Family exercise together even if this is in the house
As we look to navigate our way through these uncharted waters think about what you want the end of the lock down journey to look like, what do you want your kid(s) memories of this time to be? Then think, what from this ‘new’ normal would you be happy to keep with you on the other side of lock down and what from ‘pre’ lockdown life can you leave in the past?
Here is to us all finding smaller more meaningful ways to connect with our loved ones.
This blog was originally written for Small Talk Magazine.