Parents should use these strange times to spend more quality time with their children.
I’ve not written much about the coronavirus up to now, but it’s seems to have suddenly over the past two weeks arrived here with you, and me, with a bang.
It’s such a scary, worrying and stressful time I’m sure you’ll all agree.
I’m not going to go on and on about it, you know as much as me, so I’ll simply wish you and all your family and friends the best of health, positive mental health, strength to make the decisions to keep each other well, peace at home and in your community and say a little prayer for us all.
I will, of course, keep doing this column but will try to be positive, helpful and bring a smile to you in these difficult times.
I did have a column on Facebook a year ago and will be reactivating, so do check it out it’s called Me & You or meandyoubyjenni and I’d love to see you there and hear your comments, opinions and thoughts.
But for now here’s your Derry News Me & You column ….
At Home …
We all love being at home, love the homes we have made, love being with our children and families.
But to be restricted to being at home can be difficult, to be advised to stay at home and have our normal routine change can be stressful as we wonder how best to manage and live as normal.
So here are a few ideas to help keep you sane, to still enjoy your days and be positive …
Working at home? Is difficult at the best of times as the washing calls to be put on the line, the dog looks adoringly at you for a walk, the sun and garden beckon etc.
But now with your children off too it’s about to get even harder, with demands for play, shouts of I’m bored, he took my doll, she keeps standing in front of the TV.
So why not set up a new routine, plan your day to incorporate activities with the children and work time too.
Yes you may have to work later than 5.00 pm as you’ll be doing less during usual office hours but at least you will get work done.
Do explain that you do have to work, and then try activities with them for an hour and then work for an hour, or set up tasks and play activities they can do themselves; play dough, creation station, jigsaws, a video about the natural world etc.
If you have little ones at home, those under three years, it’s even harder but maybe your teenagers could help?
If not then you’ll have to adapt the routine to maybe work for half an hour and then play, or set up a play station (not the computer kind!) next to you and you can work together.
If you have a partner at home maybe you could set up an office in the bedroom or dining room and take it in turns to work and play?
Many schools and nurseries have provided work packs for your children to do.
Don’t be tempted to rush through these all in one go, do what their teacher suggests.
There are many websites who have learning resources you can access too such as The National Literacy Trust’s Family Zone or Twinkl (www.twinkl.co.uk - no it does not have an ‘e’ at the end!) who have a parents page full of resources for those with children aged from birth.
I’ll be sharing lots of the ideas and links from these two sites plus more on my Facebook page (Me & You meandyoubyjenni) as too much information and too many ideas can be overwhelming!
Stock Up, forget the toilet roll and tins!
Stock up on glue, crayons, pencils, paint, paper (value printing paper or roles of lining paper), colouring or activity books and real books too, card, sequins and glitter (of course), flour, salt, food colouring, cake making ingredients, bubbles, cornflour for gloop, jelly for jelly play, bag of sand etc!
I know most of us already have a Facebook page and use Whats App but do your parents and their friends?
I know my mum would be ‘gulp’ why do I need them.
But these social media sites will ensure that we are all able to keep in touch with each other, that your Mum and mine will be able to see, her Bowling Buddies, your Mums Knit & Natter friends and this ‘keeping in touch’ will be so very important if they, and we, can’t go out.
So do take the time to teach them and their friends as well, maybe consider too using and showing them how to use Skype or Face Time - it’s great to talk but even better to talk and see each other too!
Busy, wondering how exactly you are going to keep busy stuck in the house all day?
Do the ‘jobs’ you’ve been putting off for the past few years!
Plan to decorate, spring clean, learn to sew or knit (and teach your children too!) build a pond, sort out the garden or, like me get ready to paint your shed yellow!
Can you help anyone? An elderly neighbour, the new mum next door, the single dad who has to work in the hospital, the old lady down the road who now can’t walk her dog, the food bank delivery service? It’s great if you can, just remember though to protect yourself and your family.
Invest in two or three garden chairs or benches, old or new it doesn’t matter, pop them by your fences so you and your neighbours can talk to each other!
Talk, Sing, Read And Play with your children every day - with all this time at home there’s no excuse not to!
Written by, on Facebook, Me & You @meandyoubyjenni to support the Greater Shantallow Talking To Our Babies, Greater Shantallow Area Partnership. Facebook: Talking To Our Babies/www.shantallow.net.
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