Boredom, frustration and feeling cramped up doesn’t have to be a given during South Africa’s 21-day lockdown.
“It can be frustrating being cooped up for just two days over a rainy weekend, so being stuck at home for three weeks is a daunting prospect, especially for those with children,” says Chris Cilliers, CEO of Lew Geffen Sotheby’s International Realty.
She adds that the risk of children becoming even more immersed in their digital devices and mindless TV programmes will be a considerable challenge for parents. “Experts agree that creating a routine for your children is one of the best things you can do during a self-quarantine to maintain a measure of normalcy and it also allows you to limit their screen time.”
Cilliers says it’s easy to get caught up in stress and anxiety during this pandemic, so it’s important to find healthy and productive ways to let off steam and to stay busy.
Creative ways to keep busy and stay sane:
- Stay fit: Create daily family fitness time and download a fitness app to keep it interesting or learn yoga together.
- Jigsaw puzzles: This require brain power and critical thinking and it’s also a good way to bond with family members.
- Learn a new language: Download an app like Duolingo and teach yourself the foreign language you’ve always meant to learn. Unfortunately this app doesn’t currently offer training in Mzansi’s beautiful languages, but perhaps you have always wanted to brush up on your Spanish or Hindi.
- Stay in contact with family and friends: Use Skype, FaceTime or Google Hangouts to stay in contact and check in on loved ones.
- Learn a new style of dance: You can learn to belly dance or line dance via YouTube and it’s great fun for the whole family.
- Indulge yourself: During a quarantine, there’s no shame in watching an entire season of your favourite TV show.
- Creative cuisine: Learn how to cook new recipes with ingredients you may not be using already and get the kids to help; it’s the perfect time for them to learn a handy new skill.
- Cards: Learn and play a new card game.
- Blast from the past: Look through old photo albums or watch old home videos and let the kids laugh at the funny clothes mom and dad wore when they were young.
- DIY time: Dads, you now have no excuse, get stuck in and work through that to-do list.
- Put on a play: Have your kids create and perform their own creation and don’t forget to dip into the costume box.
- Write a book with your family: Let each member pick a character and each member writes a chapter about their adventures; read aloud to each other.
- Spring clean: Put aside unwanted goods for charity; they will need more support than ever after the quarantine period.
- Get creative with Lego: Turn to Google for help for creative ideas and allow imaginations to run wild.
- Indoor bowling: A great way to reuse water bottles. Fill 10 water bottles a third of the way with water and set them up at the end of your hall or living room. Place a line of duct tape at the starting line, grab a medium-sized indoor ball and start bowling.
- The lure of a cosy fort: Kids love having their very own secret space and a cosy den or fort is the perfect place to hide out, escape annoying siblings or read in peace.
- Establish an arts and crafts area: If you have a spare table set it up with paints, pencils, paper etc. You can also create a gallery to showcase your children’s creations.
- Take up gardening: If you are lucky enough to live in a house, get stuck in and weed and prune. Rope in the kids.
- Do the admin: Stop procrastinating and do your income taxes.
- Make a time capsule: Write down your experiences. These are unprecedented times and one day your kids can use it to tell their kids all about these crazy times.
Cilliers concludes: “These are unprecedented times clouded by uncertainty and worry about the future, however, it will eventually pass and we should try to focus on the few positive aspects, especially the opportunity to spend quality time with our families and create new memories.