Wetumwene Shikage

The coronavirus pandemic was never something we imagined would happen. It is here now and it seems to assure us that it is best that we stay home more than ever. This means your children may think, “ah, mom is home” and you may think, “ah, the kids are home”. Don’t panic, keep your cool and help your children do the same.

During this difficult time, patience could be pushed to the limits by the little ones. Yelling is ineffective and raises everyone’s stress levels. Instead, create games to deal with everyday challenges and turn frustrating power struggles into family fun. Your kids love to play. So, work with your children rather than against them.

You can take this time to reconnect with your kids (and them with you) Teach your children how to do things around the house. Teach them about different life lessons and how to handle different situations they may encounter outside the house. Tell them funny, but learning stories from your childhood. If your ouma or granny lives with you, get her to tell stories from HER childhood.

Try your best to turn chores into a game. The secret is incorporating your children’s passions, like listening to music, singing and dancing – with household clean-up.

With younger children, get them to wiggle and dance while they pick up their toys. Children can pretend to be their favorite superheroes or characters from cartoons or movies while they clean their rooms or help you do heavier household chores.

Older kids can race against the clock to music or even have headsets on while they do laundry, clean trash bins, organize their closets and other things. Brainstorm other playful ideas with your kids. Reward them with fun group activities like baking cookies and cakes, choosing the family movie or doing whatever your children enjoy.

Education can take place in the home while we are on lockdown. Find books to read aloud to one another. Ask one of your children to take turns reading a book to you while you cook or wash dishes or do the laundry.

Recently, I went over to my aunt’s house. I expected to find the children watching television or laying around fixed onto their gadgets. To my surprise, the living room had been transformed into a study area for her children. The children were coloring in some pictures. There were puzzle pieces all over the floor which they had been playing earlier. An educational radio station was playing in the background. My aunt was seated in the kitchen working from home. They all looked busy and focused on what they were doing. This was a great atmosphere she created to get work done and for learning.

Be innovative and creative. Everyone at home must think about how to do the things that need to be done. Go online and do research, watch histories and biographies on YouTube. It is raining now, plant some seeds or just prune the weeds and overgrown trees in the garden. Listen to podcasts on interesting topics.

The coronavirus pandemic is not an excuse to slack back, become too comfortable and forget obligations. By keeping cool, staying home will not be a nightmare. It will be a time when you all do the usual, but you do it at home as a family, together.