By: Martin Villa
Staying at home, while currently necessary, doesn’t have to be boring. It doesn’t even have to feel like a waste of time. Think of this as an opportunity to learn more about your kids and find a better way to connect with them. Or simply, improve yourself!
Here we share a few ideas to help with the anxiety the global situation might have brought to you. We hope your family can enjoy this time indoors and let the world heal outside:
1. Turn Your Hobbies into Skills.
Online courses to strengthen or develop hobbies into life skills are offered in various online platforms, and are just waiting for you to sign up. Udemy’s online programs, for instance, include courses taught by in-the-field professionals with free access to program syllabus before enrollment so you know what you’re getting out of the programs. Whether it is guitar playing, storytelling techniques, or even if you have chatty children, they can learn a new language so language differences will not be a barrier for them to be heard by the entire world.
There are programs also for those into hands-on projects and the already computer-savvy. You can learn Excel or Access in two weeks; many even offer online certificates upon completion.
Just remember, wipe down that keyboard with some sanitizer after your daily video class.
2. Reconnect with Family and Friends!
While social distancing is urged to be practiced physically, that does not mean you have to be lonely at all. Keep friends’ gossip around your social circles —because let’s be honest, sometimes that’s what keeps us going— stay in contact with family, and make some calls to those far away or long-ago seen.
So gather with your people electronically! Have e-brunch, e-dances, keep up the e-workout with your buddies, encourage your kids to connect as well to avoid depression or related anxiety.
Some apps even allow for international video phone calls for free. Not sure which ones? We suggest you explore a little bit more of those Messenger features, or even WhatsApp in case system compatibility between smartphones is a problem when using FaceTime.
This is also a good start for your kids to connect with family members they never met! Once our global crisis is over, they will feel more comfortable seeing them in person as well!
3. Enjoy Free Home Theatre!
If you don't already have an account, movie streaming media such as Netflix and Hulu offer a 30-day free trial and you can stream movies or TV shows even on your phone using the app. So the real question is: What movies are you going to watch?
(P.S. We heard some phone line carriers are giving unlimited data to help stay connected during the global crisis. So you don’t even have to worry about running out of good phone service!)
4. Bring your Services to the Digital Era
Have a service to offer? Whether you offer guitar lessons, college tutoring, or even Indian food, think about transitioning to online platforms, which can mean more time with your kids in the future, too!
We suggest using this extra time to brainstorm, strategize, and execute your transition to online services. Plenty of tax preparers are already doing it!
Whether it is on Wix, WordPress, or another brand of your choice, you can create a website in a matter of minutes. All you have to do is to choose a theme and start publishing your services, blogs, or even items on sale in the comfort of your home.
Furthermore, research suggests parents working from home spend more quality time with their children, and for obvious reasons.
5. Be Their Instructor!
Whether your passion is cooking, baking, or you’re simply a foodie, you can use this time to learn new things and teach your kids to make simple meals and snacks. Remember to use this time to emphasize the importance of kitchen safety! Doing so will not only help you cope with stress, but a well-organized cooking time will give your children another room to explore at home, and keep them connected to “learning mode” so they are ready to go back to school when reopened!
6. Give Your Brain a “Puzzling” Workout
If, after repeated educational exercises your child balks at yet another exercise, it might be time to put away the school books and turn to a puzzle -- jigsaw, crossword, Sudoku -- any will do, and are beneficial in more ways than one.The thinking involved in solving puzzles uses a blend of imaginative association and memory. Jigsaw puzzles, for example, engage the brain to retain information on colors/patterns and shapes so that pieces can be selected to fit together. In addition, this exercise reinforces short-term memory (good for children, adults and older adults, especially!) and your brain is using both hemispheres: the left side of your brain focuses on the individual parts sequentially and logically, and the creative right side sees the “big picture”.
For younger children, small puzzles with relatively few pieces can be a good introduction to the exercise (save the 1,000-piece kits for the moment). Why not try a simple puzzle exercise with your child? You can even up the ante by enlisting your child’s creative skills to draw on a blank puzzle -- this can be an especially engaging activity for the both of you, and Poppy Life Care is offering FREE blank, 5”x7” 24-piece puzzles to families in recognition of Autism Awareness Month. For many young children with autism, puzzles can spark interest, especially since some children may provide structure and comfort. Click here to get your FREE puzzle.
Whatever activities you choose, we hope that you and your family stay healthy and safe. Better days are ahead.