Rita Chidinma: Dreading Another Week Of Staying At Home with Your Kids? Read This!

Just like something out of a sci-fi movie, COVID-19 has, to an extent, kept the whole world at a stand-still. Schools, churches, malls, parks and other places with large crowds have been shut down and the kids are home full-time – until further notice. This is bound to be overwhelming. Some parents have to work from home and combine that with looking after the kids, especially if the day-time nannies and domestic-helps have been sent away this period for safety reasons. So one has to find a way to balance work time, screen time, study time, bath time, nap time, mealtime, playtime, naughty-corner time and the rest.

If you have young boys like me, your voice might have started cracking from so much yelling. Lol. It’s not easy. But instead of letting the current situation overwhelm you, you could take advantage of this opportunity to spend quality time with the kids. While the world is waiting for virologists and scientists, in general, to find a solution, you can bond better with your family and do indoor activities together.

But even the bonding time and indoor activities can become overwhelming after some time. There are times you’ll need some ‘alone time’ to get some work done and the kids won’t listen. You may have to explain over and over why they can’t go over to their friends’ to hang out for a bit. In many cases, you probably can’t wait for them to sleep, just so you can rest.

Here are some coping mechanisms I developed for keeping myself afloat and sane during this isolation period:

Keep them informed                                                                

Be sure to keep them informed about the happenings in the world right now, if they are old enough. Nothing too graphic, just basic necessary information that will keep them in line and make it easier for them to obey all the instructions. And if they are still very young like mine, you could still use age-appropriate language to explain to them. For instance, my three-year-old is always requesting for the hand sanitizer after touching the floor with his hands.

Go with the flow

For someone like me – who loves to keep things organised, even to the littlest detail – this has been a real challenge, but I’m finally getting the hang of it. Lunch must not be by exactly 1.45 pm every day and bath time can be delayed by a few minutes, so long as everyone is happy. I’ve discovered that sometimes, going with the flow helps to get things done faster and keeps everyone’s mood light, than lording instructions over everyone. This doesn’t mean that there should be no defined way of doing things around the home, but… you get the gist.

It’s okay to be upset but only for a few minutes

These kids can be really trying sometimes, huh? But don’t stay mad. Just shrug it off and jump back in the game. Trust me, it’s better for everyone. Don’t complain so much;  the lockdown is not ending tomorrow. COVID-19 is still here, even though we are all earnestly hoping for a breakthrough really soon.

Find relevant videos on YouTube and apps too

Trust me, this has saved me from near insanity, especially when PHCN does their thing. If they are so engrossed watching something on screen, then you can get some work done, or simply put your feet up and catch your breath. You could also make lots of video calls with family and friends and get the kids involved.

Are you stressed right now? Don’t worry about it, it’s just for a while. We’ll all soon return to life as we know it.