How To Embrace Family Time During a Pandemic
Enjoy This Time Together
During the past year you have most likely spent even more time with your other half and little ones at home then you would normally do. There have undoubtedly been moments where you have most likely irritated each other being cooped up at home, but ultimately it has enabled a lot of us to enjoy more family time together, which is certainly something positive to embrace. Instead of doing the usual activities, sitting cozily on the couch together watching a movie, why not make things a bit more interesting and do more non screen time based activities instead.
Non Screen Activities
Reminisce to a time when you were young yourself and think how you used to pass the time prior to the invention of the internet and iphones and how it was thoroughly enjoyable. This is perhaps something a lot of children are not used to in 2021, as they are likely to be glued to their cellphones, ipads, laptop screens, tv or games console. They will already be using a lot of screen time if they are being homeschooled so try to get them to spend a couple of hours a day away from the screen. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic 80% of US parents had expressed concerns that their children aged between 5 and 11 were using a laptop or tablet far too much on a daily basis, with 63% saying they also relied heavily on cell phones. So there has certainly been an increase in the daily use of screen time amongst young children.
You could play a game of charades which is good for childrens visual and creative skills. It enables them to use their creativity by visualizing the object that they are attempting to convey and utilize hand motions to recreate this.
Another non screen activity, is a family friendly board game, such as Pictionary where you can all sit down together, around the table and draw your objects on paper, for your other team member to guess within the allotted time frame. Hand eye coordination is very important, particularly if you have little ones as it is a great cognitive exercise that utilizes their memory, concentration and drawing abilities.
1 Parenting Kids in the Age of Screens, Social Media and Digital Devices | Pew Research Center
Reminisce about previous family milestones together. You could gather the old photos of when the children were babies and look through them together. It is not something that perhaps you do together as a family that often, particularly if you are used to snapping digital moments on your cell phone and placing them on social media. It is nice to be able to hold actual photos in your hands and think about happier times with your family. The children might particularly be interested in when you and your partner were little ones too and any funny stories you have to tell that they have not heard before.
Cooking and baking together is another enjoyable and productive activity that you can do. You could cook family favourite meals that perhaps you do not normally have time to cook if you were out working all day. Things like making pizza or bread will enable your children to take responsibility for something tasty to look after for the day, as it is a time consuming but fun activity to do. It is also an important skill for your little ones to learn from a young age as they will appreciate home cooked healthy meals and will become accustomed to them.
Any creative projects that you think your children might enjoy is worth trying. Hand painting, drawing, painting by numbers, etching, putting together a paper plane, creating a science experiment, just something that they can utilize their hands with and you can all do together. It will allow your children to be as creative as they want and can actually be quite relaxing too.
You could do creative art projects that will be useful items for your home interiors, such as creating a framed piece of wall art together or something that could provide a centrepiece for your backyard.
Get Out into the Garden As Much as Possible
If you are fortunate enough to have a backyard, then spend as much time as possible with the children outdoors, as it is great for their mental wellbeing and physical activity. You could dedicate a section for a butterfly garden, flowers, fruit and vegetables to grow. Gardening is quite a physical activity but it is certainly enjoyable as well when you have plants or flowers to nurture each day and the satisfaction of watching them grow and also cooking, lovely home cooked meals with ingredients you have grown yourself.
Tap Into Your Inner Musical Side
If someone is musical in your family then perhaps they could put on a show for the family, so gathering together on the couch as you listen to your child play the piano or the violin for example. On the other hand, if noone is musically gifted, then why not take the opportunity to each learn to play a musical instrument. It does not need to be large musical instruments if space is a concern, but perhaps smaller instruments like a flute or recorder. Then you could all practise different elements to a song and record it together.
Once restrictions are more relaxed and life returns to normality, then it will certainly be nice to return to family activities outside of the home, like going to the movies, or for a lovely sit down meal. These are all enjoyable family moments that we perhaps took for granted pre COVID 19 times. One thing for sure is that we will all appreciate these occasions more so than we ever did before. It is the small things in life that really make a difference.