“Life is not about waiting for the storm. It’s about learning to dance in the rain.” (Vivian Greene, 2006)
I came across this much-noticed quote in a book recently, and although it’s not the first time I’ve read it, I was really impressed with how relevant it is right now.
In the past few weeks, today as we once didnow it has changed beyond recognition all over the world. Under the government’s command, people around the world are currently living a completely different life without thinking about what dominated the headlines or our daily sufferings from the corona virus. Smaller tasks like jumping out to take in half a liter of milk are now a risky process plagued by fear. Supermarkets are empty and toilet rolls and eggs are a valuable commodity.
Watch the video below to take a look at our first week of self-isolation (restriction: it’s harder to film the tantrums, but I can assure you that they happened).
The world is locked, virtual reality prevails – it’s almost like we unwittingly got into a nightmarish episode of Black Mirror. Celebrities (apart from those who offer virtual entertainment) have become insignificant, and the greatest heroes in the world are rightly the ones who continue to make it tick – the postal workers, delivery services, farmers, supermarket shelf stackers and, of course, health workers.
How we dealt with self-isolation
I count our family among the lucky ones. Yes, it is difficult to be confined to the house with two small children, but we are healthy, we have a garden, we are not required to be at the forefront, and we can both work from home (although we can find ways to Promoting goals nobody can visit has their challenges!) It could be much worse. And all the time, my emotions swing wildly from anxious to trying to make the best of the situation.
Since holidays were canceled and travel was out of the question, the content that I usually post on my blog and social channels focused on ways to keep the kids entertained at home.
When the government originally announced that schools should be closed, I was overwhelmed in the immediate future. First, I was very sad about the kids who might miss the rest of the school year, and second, there was panic about how on earth we teach KS1, do our own work on the side, and shouldn’t go crazy. The summer vacation alone was discouraging, but it had an end date and included trips abroad, day trips, and social interaction with other people.
What has been encouraging is to see how communities take action everywhere: a Bristol Food Collective The city’s restaurants, farmers, growers, and community food organizations were founded to help people get food from independent people during the Covid-19 crisis. Our street has started a What’s App group (although I regret it a little bit since it mainly joins consists of updates to the neighborhood cats).
Entertain the children during self-isolation
For health reasons, I have compiled this list of fun activities that I can do at home with children during Coronavirus School closure to consolidate the myriad of ideas that came up in my social feeds. I added it as soon as more appeared, but it is difficult to keep up as there are so many! My normal upbringing tactic is to leave the house by 10 a.m. (when the kids start to go crazy for bats) and move the little ones away to explore new places – preferably outside – to keep them indoors indefinitely.
The community response and online creativity of artisans, fitness gurus and storytellers was inspired and we tried to do our utmost to do something different every day at home. It is certainly a trial and error with the children, some things they love, other things make them flee the room.
The first week – or at least the beginning – went much better than I expected. Maybe because I purposely had extremely low expectations, or because it was such a novelty – the children who didn’t notice the chaos around the world were looking forward to being at home and to the “mom and dad school” visit. And I mean “school” in the broadest sense of the word!
We climaxed in the middle of the week and achieved great success with my video diaries on BBC1 – who knew that it would take a pandemic to lose my five minutes of fame? Hordes of people who came out to clap the NHS were also an emotional climax.
Of course, it is not all easy to sail in the house, by Thursday the girls were a bit over it, literally climbing over the walls, there were plenty of arguments, the spirits were short, the screams were high. A low point was the negotiation, which parent would warm the toilet seat for the uncompromising three-year-old. The ridiculousness of it almost broke us and we used our social distance from one walk a day to try to get past it.
The week’s victories included creating a schedule (which we didn’t stick to for longer than the first day, but which gave us a relaxed idea of the structure we should maintain in the morning), a paid snack shop “In which we paint the schedule contents of the trash, Children’s cosmic yoga, Potion making in the garden, painting, Twinkl activities, Zoom calls, makes sweet treats, plays GoNoodle games, Disney +, virtual Disneyland rides and obstacle course in the garden. Playing and making happy is the main priority. I feel for those with older children who actually have schoolwork to do.
Compared to previous generations, I think it is important to remember that little is asked of us. Our mission is to stay at home with our loved ones (in our case), which is really not a problem. In a way, it opens up a whole new world of opportunities (which I hope employers will take note of), but I also feel that a single parent weekend where the kids will be a breeze will be a breeze sheer amount of entertaining resources for kids that I now have in my back pocket!
The weeks are coming and who knows what they will bring (hopefully a lot more humorous Covid 19 memes), but in the meantime we will continue to adapt to this new normal and remember what really matters and what we learn to dance in the metaphorical rain … or, if you prefer, with ruthless new-clad dedication in the living room.
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