Had you asked me at the same time last year what I would be doing in a year’s time, I would have never guessed that I’d be living through a pandemic, spending 99% of my time in the house and “social distancing” for the 30 odd minutes I spend outside. But these are unprecedented times. Schools are closed, playgrounds closed off and offices shut – touching surfaces outside your home sounds like a death sentence!

Like many parents in the same situation, my husband and I have been forced to look inwards, spending more quality time with family and friends and in the process appreciating the now. Now that I think about it, this time has been a total blessing for my family and I. What really stands out for me is just how strong and brave my two children have remained through this crisis.

Here are a few things I’ve learnt about my kids during lock-down.

They understand more than we think

Explaining the concept of a virus, let alone “Coronavirus”, seemed like an uphill task. But explaining Covid-19 as the villain in a superhero movie where my kids are the heroes who can defeat it using their superpowers of proper hand washing, exercise, rest and eating healthy to give their immune system a boost was a breeze. I would occasionally catch them policing each other as they washed their hands. I’ve also learnt that exposing them to too much news about the virus can cause anxiety and distress because they are soaking up tonnes of information. So be careful to limit their exposure to the news.

They are quite capable

Why did it always seem like I’ll have to tidy up all the time? I really don’t. The kids understand and enjoy having responsibilities around the house. Tidying up has now become a competitive sport, making their beds doesn’t need a reminder and folding their clothes is done in record time. So don’t be afraid to put them to work. It’s never too early to start some sort of routine. 

Timetable? What is a timetable?

When lock-down started, I was determined to be the most organised parent on Earth. I had a timetable ready to go with a schedule that I was sure was bulletproof. My timetable quickly became scribbling paper for my kids and swiftly found its way to the bin! Through this process, I learnt that it’s OK not to follow a strict schedule and follow a happiness schedule instead. We only need to ask ourselves one question: will we enjoy doing this now? If not, we move on to something else. The hugs and giggles I get is worth every unplanned minute.

More screen time is OK

Kids content has become so rich with educational apps, TV programs, online classes and movies that are both educational and entertaining. Great kids content has bought me 30 minutes and more of quiet time. Check out our recent post for free online activities for kids here.

Learning happens everywhere, all the time

Learning never stops just because schools are shut. There is a lot that kids can learn outside the classroom. Cooking together can teach them about mixtures, fire and safety; gardening teaches them more about the world they live in; painting and coloring sharpens their imagination and fosters creativity and those pesky Legos are truly the building blocks of engineering.

They are very funny

I mean like rib-cracking funny and there is nothing that they love more than seeing me smile. They can go to great lengths to make that happen. I’ve discovered that my kids can put some of the best stand-up comedians to shame. From stories to one liners, they’ve got it covered and the best way to get these gems is to simply get involved and be silly with them.

Quality bonding time means everything to them

Besides making me smile, I’ve learnt that my kids value nothing more than spending time with us as parents. They would rather hang around when I’m working than go to the garden and if you’ve had a call with me, you have probably seen them or heard them in the background 🙂 I’ve learnt to deliberately leave most of my days free for them and work in shorter sprints when I need to.

They are fragile

Sometimes we overlook how much our children’s lives have been altered. They have been kept off school, kept from their friends, forced to stay at home for several weeks now and their normal routines flipped. This can be tough for anyone to adjust to but they have done it! I’ve learnt that spending 5 minutes each day talking about how they feel and doing guided meditation has helped create calmer and more mindful children.

If the term brutally honest had a face, they would be it.

Two weeks into lock-down and I was permanently in flip flops, leggings and XXL t-shirts. It only took one comment from my daughters to whip me back into shape. Sometimes we all need tough love, luckily for me, I don’t have to leave the house to get it.

Compassion and care is at their very core

They understand how difficult it is for everyone and have gone out of their way to show compassion to everyone they come across. They are always ready to volunteer help, donate their toys and are never shy to say hello. They have participated in celebrating all the workers in the front line and drew rainbows for strangers just to brighten their day.

We can all learn about compassion and care from our children.

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