By Irene LeLou
A new reality
One thing is for certain: the world as we’ve known it has changed since January. The COVID-19 crisis has demarcated our lives into “before and after”. Our sense of security, comfortable complacency and the unwavering belief in the invincibility of our carefully organised structures and rituals, have been shattered by a minute yet formidable enemy.
The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted almost every aspect of our lives: how we work, how we socialise, how we shop, how we parent and, more importantly, how we view ourselves and the future. We have seemingly matured overnight as we strive to create new ways of dealing with arising issues. What we should remember is that as humans we evolve and develop when we are forced to find solutions to challenges presented. This has always been the key to our survival: our ability to adapt and change. For most of us, the uncertainty and insecurity are very unsettling, especially since we don’t have the benefit of prior experience to navigate through this unfamiliar territory. Let us remember though, that our parents, grandparents and the generations before them all dealt with the ravages of conflict and disease. We will overcome this as they did. During this time, governance, at a council, state and federal level, is a valuable ally as it provides the information, guidance and support to help us adjust to a new way of living.
Looking at things through another Lens
For many of us, working from home has become a new reality. It allows us to continue being productive, yet it has also created a new set of challenges as we juggle multiple demanding roles in our home environments. Compounding this, are the tests brought about by having to restrict active children at home….and, we all know how frustrating that can be for parents and children alike.
Compartmentalizing is a mechanism that might help us deal with the stress of dealing with multiple responsibilities by helping us define and set limits to the roles within our daily lives. An effective time management strategy, careful planning and organization, setting routines, being flexible and the active participation of our partners and family will be our most valuable support in getting through the obligations of day during this period.
First and above all, it is absolutely vital for our personal and family’s wellbeing and to seek and find the positive from this experience. Only then can we remain healthy: choosing to actively move away from the negativity by taking something from it and by using the insight gained to add to our personal growth.
A great way of injecting our daily lives with a very vital dose of positivity is by keeping a gratitude journal. This actually forces us to create an awareness and focus on the many things that we can be thankful for. It allows us to put things in perspective looking beyond the immediate issues.
All of us lead busy lives. The rush to get everything done within the span of the day seems all consuming. Days merge into weeks, into months and then years, and all those goals and dreams that we set aside to do when we have the time are sideway-ed. Our modern societies are guided by superficiality and consumerist ideals which promise happiness yet rarely deliver…. especially now. We are more focused on “doing” than “being”. Perhaps now, when our lives are essentially put on pause, we are gifted Time allowing us to reflect on our families, on ourselves, our emotions and to “be” what really matters.
- Working from home remotely with the children present causes inevitable frustrations which in turn often lead to feelings of guilt. Acknowledging that this is a challenge for everyone in the household lays the foundations for better understanding. Guilt never helps. It is a destructive emotion that blocks us from seeing clearly. Applying strategies such as establishing household routines, forward planning, setting clear expectations (with children and employers), using technology, using screen time when necessary and being flexible are our biggest allies during this time.
- Let’s reintroduce ourselves to our partners, spouses, children and family and even to ourselves: Who we really are, our loves, our quirks, our silliness, our vulnerabilities and all those things that colour our personalities.
- This is an opportunity for families to spend time together, to have fun and bond: read books to the children, play together, cook together, play board games, watch films, arrange activities, start new family traditions, etc. Remember, that it’s important to allow ourselves, as adults, to have fun with our children.
- Meaningful learning can happen anywhere, and although we don’t have to recreate the school environment, home stay allows us an opportunity to provide provocations through which our children can learn. Take tips from our Facebook page for inspiration.
- We are blessed to have access to gardens, parks and beaches. So, take the children out and focus on enjoying those moments with them. Look at nature with a new awareness; through the eyes of a child.
- Explore Pinterest, there are thousands of ideas to keep the children busy and engaged and your sanity intact!!!
Creative ideas with the children
Finishing off, we would like to reassure everyone that we can do this! Let’s take this time to learn more about our children, and for them to learn more about us. Allow yourselves to be amazed by your children, as we teachers are amazed by them every day. Let us know how it’s going and send us photos of your creative escapades with them!
Here are some creative ideas we have collected for you. Pre-plan these to add an element structured play to the children’s day. Enjoy them together!
- Easy Toddler Circle painting https://teaching2and3yearolds.com/easy-toddler-shapes-activity-paper-tubes/
- Vegetable stamping https://www.momjunction.com/articles/fun-and-innovative-vegetable-paintings_00104272/?crlt.pid=camp.gxKTU9o15gzA
- Fine motor play from Recyclables https://www.teach-me-mommy.com/fine-motor-play-from-recyclables/
- Audiobooks/ stories from storynory.com
- Absolutely brilliant site where Story books are read by actors https://www.storylineonline.net/
- Bubble painting (add pinterest link) https://earlylearningideas.com/art-activities-for-kids-bubble-painting/
- Fine motor threading activity using straws https://www.pinterest.com.au/pin/163818505181300612/sent/?invite_code=c92a4dc2d088414cbc2038b627f17768&sender=288371319798564842&sfo=1
- Erupting volcano http://www.learnplayimagine.com/2013/09/color-surprise-eruptions.html
- Magic milk experiment https://littlebinsforlittlehands.com/magic-milk-a-classic-science-experiment-for-kids/
- Skittles experiment https://masandpas.com/melting-skittles-experiment/
- Sticker Line up https://busytoddler.com/2016/08/sticker-line-up/
- Learning how plants absorb water https://pagingfunmums.com/2013/07/09/fun-science-experiment-learning-how-plants-absorb-water/
- Walking water science experiment https://pagingfunmums.com/2013/07/09/fun-science-experiment-learning-how-plants-absorb-water/ (same link as above)
- Octopus Pizza https://www.forkandbeans.com/2018/06/21/octopus-pizzas/
- Funny face pizza https://www.pinterest.com.au/pin/63402307236877116/sent/?invite_code=96055146eb954070910b3b54df8b0b1d&sender=288371319798564842&sfo=1