With all the COVID restrictions, your family might be going a tad stir-crazy these holidays! Here are some suggestions to maintain peace and harmony at home despite cabin fever.
1. Establish a healthy routine and limit screen time.
- Yes, it may be tempting to let the children sit in front of screens all day while you try to work from home, finish housework or have a break. Do not give in to this temptation. Excessive screen time increases irritability, addiction and the chance of worsening myopia. Work with your children to set sensible boundaries around digital technology.
- As better alternatives, give them access to books, crafts, Lego and puzzles. Let them roam free in the nearest library. A love of books will let your child travel far through time and space despite current border restrictions!
- Music is another fantastic outlet for children and youth to regulate their moods while spending some happy hours exploring culture. Learning various instruments or choral singing is excellent for developing discipline, boosting brain power and improving overall well-being.
- If you and your children really need them to have some screen time, there are various enriching activities available online. They can learn a new language through Duolingo, practise their typing skills, or play games involving maths, logic, science and geography.
2. Include your children in your daily routine.
- Research shows that children who are given housework tend to grow into more independent and responsible adults. Have your offspring contribute to the family through age-appropriate tasks. You can make it fun by having laundry-folding races or dishwashing sing-a-longs.
- Instead of leaving them at home while you go grocery-shopping, why not involve them in the process and teach them how to select produce or compare prices? They can simultaneously hone their home economics and maths skills.
- Also, teaching children how to cook from a young age instils the good habits foundational for a balanced diet. It may be more efficient in the short run to do the cooking yourself, but patience with your child in the kitchen will pay off in the long run, especially when they start cooking meals for you!
3. Incorporate exercise.
- Physical exercise is essential to good mental health. Even a short walk around the block can be very beneficial, increasing endorphins and improving your family’s mood. If you live close enough to nature, you can enliven the walk with some birdwatching or plant identification – there are apps available to assist in these educational endeavours.
- Even at home, you can try out online martial arts, pilates or dance classes with your family to get the blood pumping.
4. Take turns with your spouse to have “time off”.
- Particularly if you are both working from home and do not have grandparents or domestic helpers to assist, pre-established schedules can save everyone’s sanity and manage expectations.
5. Remember to pray.
- Making a habit of praying the Divine Office, the Rosary, or just short prayers like the Morning Offering, the Angelus and the Guardian Angel prayer, lets everyone pause and recall the presence of God, helping them see others in a more charitable light. At the end of each day, you and your children can thank God for various blessings received throughout the day, going to bed in a more joyful frame of mind.
Can you think of more holiday tips to share with other families? Do leave them in the comments section below this article.