I spotted my younger son lumbering into the living room with the typical bored look of a locked-down teenager from the corner of my eye. He sauntered to the sofa proclaiming that he is reassessing his life priorities. I was amused and I understood where he was coming from.
I gently reminded him that: “Boredom in the Mother of Creativity.”
His reply was an noncommittal shrug that said ‘Yeah, yeah...that’s not helping right now.” He’s 20.
My catch-ups with my parents who are temporarily sheltering over at my siblings’ places also revealed similar monotonous complaints of bored, young children who have finally had their fill of being indoors.
Although seemingly unachievable, we can find ways to take a breather from our spouses and kids daily. You need that short respite from homeschooling, tutoring, cleaning, cooking, and running the household, if you will.
So, here's a few transmogrifying things you can incorporate into your everyday life while waiting for the dust of hooves to settle.
1. Craftily Sweet and Simple
During a quick email interview with Mandy Maung, an established artist from the beautiful island of Penang, Malaysia, she shared that having a schedule helps with keeping kids creative when you need a leg up during the Circuit Breaker.
If you’re so inclined, start teaching your kids how to do watercolor doodles! There are no rules to doodles, it’s simple, silly, and kid-friendly. The really fun part is that you don’t need to be a skilled artist to have a splashing good time. Let your kids’ imagination make the call instead!
Let’s say you dedicate an hour every Monday and Wednesday to watercolor doodles for your kids, it gives you that window of opportunity to take that breather you need. In fact, join them.
Other projects your kids can embark on includes:
- 3D Lettering
- Tissue Paper Sensory Art
- Magnet Painting
- Stained Glass Painting
- Faux Stained Glass Suncatcher Craft
Source: Senjuti Kundu on Unsplash
2. Fun Digital Learning
Don’t feel guilty about it - if you need a break, you need a break. End of story.
Forget about getting on the high horse and former ideals of having a no-TV schedule for your kids, fast-food-free diets, and iPad-free homes. For homes with more than one kid, they can be each other's companion and compatriot.
There are tons of free maths, science, and brain-teaser activities available online and the cost of most of these are going to be worth that extra hour of me-time.
- NOVA Labs Science
- NASA’s Space Kennedy Visitors Center Complex videos on Facebook
- FunBrain’s free games, videos,books, and comics
- Cool Math 4 Kids free online educational games
- Math Game Time
- Science Channel (Youtube)
- Sci Show Kids (YouTube)
- NatGeo Kids (YouTube)
- Kids Learning Tube (YouTube)
- Digital Education by the Carnegie Hall
- Learn a New Language (DuoLingo)
- Fun Digital Games for Kids (Highlights)
- Roller Coaster rides from Theme Parks
In the meantime, take a page from Ingela Johannson who has a workbook filled with creative explorations based on color, play and curiosity, made for families with kids of all ages.
“I have made collages since I was a child. Often I liked mixing painting, collage and a poem. I always used to listen to music while creating. For the last 20 years, I have enjoyed making collages about what I want more of and think is important in my life. I call them happy collages." - Ingela Johannson, Create Together, Creative Fun for Familes
3. Let ‘em Loose
Instead of going on a guilt trip and then cracking under the pressure of trying to be and do everything, relax the rules.
There will be time to set the schedule right again once this Pandemic is over.
While you work from home, fill up the sink or tub up and pile them up with a bunch of toys, get the bubble bath going and let them clean their toys.
Unbox the clothes meant for recycling and let them play dress-up in front of a mirror by themselves. Hand them an old phone with a camera (or outrightly the camera itself if this is the only option - whatever works, right?) and watch them have fun with everything from old keys and handphones to old jackets and long-forgotten hairbrushes.
Alternatively, if you have an indoor tent, set it up, throw a bunch of colorful plastic balls in and let them do as they please for a couple of hours.
Here are 42 easy activities to keep your kids busy while you work at home (HuffPost).
4. Dance it Out
Source: Conttonbro on Pexels
Just like how DJ Carl Hinds was influenced by his father’s love for Jamaican music when he was young, share your love for music or dance with your kids now.
“Coming from a Jamaican family, music was always played in the household. My father used to buy lots of vinyl records and he used to play them at every opportunity,” Hinds shared.
It’s 2020, so, Hinds recommends Spotify, Amazon Music, Apple Music, MixCloud, SoundCloud and a plethora of websites and apps out there offer a buffet of options for music streaming.
You can also load up GoNoodle and let the kids create good energy at home while you hide and dig into a tub of ice-cream in the kitchen! The site offers free movement, yoga, mindfulness videos, recommended off-screen-time home activities, and downloadable activities for kids of all ages.
5. Get Creative with your Home Ideas
If there’s one thing I’ve learned as a parent of two rambunctious boys, it is this: they’re easily entertained.
As a struggling parent trying to get things done while caring for them when they were young, I would set them off on a scavenger hunt (inside the home) with simple ingenuity (or some might call it...desperation).
- Set up an obstacle course with unused plastic cups
- Blow up balloons
- Give them ping-pong balls
- Hand them a Snakes and Ladders board game
- Plan up Story Time with other parents if they’re in for it. Make a pact with other friend-parents so that you can take turns reading stories to all the kids via streaming apps like Teams, Zoom, Whatsapp, Skype, Hangouts, or Marco Polo.
I hope the recommendations above will help you keep your Zen while in lockdown during the Circuit Breaker. The #momstruggle is real.
Don’t forget to reward them for good behavior. Ask them how they liked the activities, games, songs, dance moves, etc they’ve experienced for the day and then reward them with a long, warm cuddle.
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Note: Featured Image Source: Annie Spratt on Unsplash