What day of the lockdown are we in hano?
I am sure we all lost track of the days, week or time under the mandatory lockdown, because we not doing much.
We not rushing off to drop the children at school or picking them up from day-care, after Miss Selma’s 20 missed calls reminding us that little Tangani needs to be picked up or else it’s extra charges for keeping him until you arrive, or going to work or the gym, or even rushing for “happy hour drinks with the gents.
Eish! Our lives and routines have been drastically, and dramatically changed by the speed faster than light. We were not prepared mentally or physically for the lockdown. It happened so fast before we could even say, what IS lockdown?
“Vaketwu waneer gaan die skole oop maak?” A question asked by many parents during this.
Will the schools ever open anytime soon?
That is the million-dollar question on everyone’s lips. is Mostly derived from our bundles of joy, driving us crazy, making marathon trips to the fridge and toilet which if it were a competition, majority of households would be in the Guinness Book of Records for kids who made the most trips to the fridge and toilet, and the grand trophy going to the child, who shouts the loudest theme song of ‘I Am Bored’.
I personally think ‘I Am Bored’ by children should be put in a dictionary of its own, with all its different meanings and sounds.
Categorically, every household in the whole wide world has that theme song ‘I Am Bored’ by 5-10-year-old on repeat, because every five minutes that’s what they say, or I am hungry.
My sister literally wants to put her girls up for auction! She has run out of patience for this lockdown period.
I Am sure she and a lot of parents are on the same pace here.
The lockdown brings its share of discomfort and inconveniences, especially for our toddlers, who are left with not much option but to cry for attention and activities to do, apart from field trips to the fridge and toilet.
Don’t despair just yet, there’s still hope for the theme song to change and go from slow beat to funky rhythm which the whole family can join in and enjoy through these simple actions.
The trick is to keep the kids busy and entertained that by the time it’s 20h00, they have all passed out on the couch long enough for you to enjoy and listen to the news uninterrupted.
Here are some fun ways to keep the small memes and tates busy:
- It’s very important that you create a small space in the house that can serve as a classroom, or learning environment with no distractions, including no TV. If you live in a small house with not enough space, turn a small section of the sitting room into a classroom. Even the garage can be used.
- Provide pencils, erasers, rulers, writing books, colouring books. Look in their stationary box the school has asked you to provide, I am sure there’s still some items that hasn’t been taken to school yet. So, use what is left in there.
- Download content and learning material from the internet that is applicable for your child’s age and learning capacity. It should be informative, educational and fun. Here are a few websites you can use for guidance, Khan Academy, BrainPOP, ABC Kids, NASA Kids, learn at website,Educational.com
- You can also teach your children how to properly speak your mother tongue, teach them to count, say the days of the week, month, most fruits and vegetables, and objects in your language.
- Do experiments with the children. Give them science projects they can do. Ask the older siblings or dad to help with. Google Eruption Experiments by Science Kids for loads of inspiration.
We all have creativity in us, which should be explored and be given the opportunity for it to bloom and flourish especially from a young age. Children have extra-curricular activities at school which falls outside the realm of normal curriculum of school, which can be reinforced at home through:
- Play/Drama. Create a bible story character which kids can play out, e.g. Jesus feeding the 5000 people, have a basket, with bread, fruits, chips, sweets, use whatever you have at home, or any play of their favourite cartoons. Costume parties are also fun to do. You can use anything around the house, from black garbage plastic bags, maize meal sacks or even Tate old suit which has seen better days.
- Music/Dance. Have a karaoke with full blast music – okay not that high so City Police doesn’t come knocking at your door, arresting you the parent for noise pollution. You get my drift, but let the little ma se kinders enjoy themselves by shaking what their mama gave them. You will be amazed by their Michael Jackson and PDK dance moves.
- MasterChef kids. Since the spirit of eating is high during this lockdown, get them to make simple meals and the reward is they get to eat their own food. Braai and baking are easy and safe to handle. Just make sure you supervise them at all times.
- Entrepreneurship. They can sell the food they made to the rest of the family. Set up a kapana vibe. They get to learn about business skills and how to handle money.
Bonding as a family
Because we live in such busy times, we don’t really get time to bond as a family as we always out rushing to the next and the next thing on our to do list. Now is the perfect chance to bond and hopefully carry this ritual right after the lockdown and make it a family tradition.
- Build a tree house. Children love climbing, my three-year-old niece will climb on anything that can hold her 15kg weight. From the kitchen cupboards to the door trailer to the dining table, you name it. Dads can lead the troops here. Your children will love you more for being the coolest parents ever, hands down.
- Camping. Set up tents in the back yard with sleeping bags or mattresses. Make a fire, use torches or flashlights. Let the whole family join in
- Play board games. Swift, Monopoly, 30 Seconds, Chase, Snakes and Ladders.
- Spreading love. Get the family to write letters or cards to aunties, uncles, grandparents, or the little ones can do drawings. Take pictures and send it via WhatsApp or do video calls and show the drawings and letters to their respective owners. Because if there is one thing, we can all do is spread love during this time.
- Movie night. With popcorn, marshmallows, nice delicious sticky wings, fries (hey what a time to be alive, the bliss of food)
- Story night. Remember how our own parents would have us sit down by their feet and tell us their own childhood memories and we would hang on to every word, and exaggeration about an event.
- Gardening. Best time to grow your own food. Get your hands dirty with the children.
At the end of the day, if you fortunate to have a bathtub, fill it with warm water, a tablespoon of Epsom salt, bubble bath and soak the children in it. They will be so relaxed and sleep right through the night.
These are all trying time for us all, our tolerance and patience will be tested to the core. We will get so irritated and angry with our flock, even leading us to prayer 100 times a day for divine intervention to save us from the ‘Chronicles of the Lockdown”, but as parents or caregivers we should remember that those bundles of joy are just as anxious, and frustrated to get back to their normal routine.
They also miss school, their friends and needing space from as well. So, embrace this time and make the most of it. Keep the children occupied and entertained, so that you don’t hear the ‘I Am Bored’ song repeatedly, even in your sleep.
*Not their real names
By: Suzana Malunga