Chances are, you and your kids will be spending far more time at home than you’re used to. You aren’t a bad parent – in fact, you’re normal – if you’re secretly thinking the question you’re not putting voice to: How will we stay home and avoid driving each other crazy? You love your kids without question, but you’re also facing a sudden shift in the variety of the routines that have made up your lifestyle before now.

Take heart!  You now have an opportunity to try out some novel things that your schedule before now wouldn’t have allowed for.  Deep breathe – yes! – and pick your creative brain.  I know you have one!  Invite your family to do something that breaks you out of the norm and even stretches the bounds of your experience of being together.  

Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • Catch up on One-on-One Time

If you’ve been lacking a little in one-on-one time with your kids lately, take the chance to schedule it in.  Let your child choose what you do during that time (even if you have to squeeze into the tiny indoor tent or create an obstacle course!).  If you have a partner or other adult around, enlist their cooperation so you both have individual alone time with each child. Be patient if your child’s mood isn’t right at the time – simply accept it, and try again later.

  • Share a Performance Virtually

Create a family play, musical or dance performance, and share it using videoconference with an elderly family member or neighbour who’s in COVID – 19 isolation. 

  • Create Digital Cards or Art

Make and send personalized art or digital cards to brighten someone’s day.

  • While You Drive to Some Outdoor Fun, Play the Sign Game

Plan some outdoor fun (keeping distance if that’s your local health authority recommendation) and play the Sign Game on the way while you’re driving.  You may come up with your own version of the rules but the way we played it went like this:

  1. Each letter of the alphabet must be located in order.  For example, a licence plate starting with the letter “b” doesn’t count if you haven’t already located “a”.
  2. Any word found in or on the vehicle you’re driving doesn’t count.
  3. To start, find a word or licence plate outside your car starting with the letter “a”.  This letter must be located as a stand-alone word, or be the first letter of the first word of a line or phrase on a sign.  For example, a sign that reads “Air-conditioning service” counts, while “Next exit – Air Conditioning Service” does not count.  It must be the first letter of the line or phrase.  If the sign reads 

“Next Exit – 

Air-Conditioning Service”

the “a” does count because “a” is the first letter of the second line.

  1. Car and other vehicle manufacturers and models (other than the one you’re driving in) count.
  2. You must be able to observe the letter.  For example, your “Explorer” in your driveway doesn’t count as “e” unless you’re actually looking at it.
  3. You can use this as a continuing game, from one car ride to the next – obviously the game progresses more slowly if you’re in the county side!
  4. Everyone wins once you reach the last letter of the alphabet.
  • Work on a Project Together from Start to Finish

Plan an art or construction project that you can all work on together.  If it will take steps over days, better yet!  For example, work together to create an urban, wildlife or farm scene out of clay and make a textured base for it.  Or, make the scene out of paper mache and paint it once dried.

  • Learn a Song in Another Language

Learn to sing a new song in another language and talk about the translation.  Perhaps pick the language of your ancestors, a culture your child is interested in, or a second language of your country.

  • Serve Someone Together

Work together to serve a neighbour or someone in your family who could use help (again, within the bounds of health authority guidelines for social distancing or self-isolation in your area).

There you have it.  A few ideas to get your family through an unprecedented time in our modern history.

Send us a photo and brief description of the fun family moments you’ve shared, even during troubled times.  We would love to hear from you!  

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