Families today, though living together, are unused to being in each other’s company 24/7. Each member, pre-pandemic, has a daily or weekly routine that typically gets them out of the house: work, school, errands, hobbies and leisure activities. While there’s joy to be had in spending quality time together, many are now appreciative of the time they spend out of the house. Those were opportunities to enjoy “me time” and explore hobbies that don’t interest their family members, among other things.
Present circumstances being what they are, most families have little choice but to stay at home together. To alleviate everyone’s worries and anxiety about the pandemic, encourage your family to be each other’s source of strength and joy. Below are some tips on how to do this.
Declutter Your Home
If you have kids who attended university, chances are they moved their belongings out of their dorms through a shared removal service in haste. Because of the short notice, you were probably unable to prepare for their arrival, and now their belongings are stowed in your garage or cramped in their old bedrooms.
Even if your son or daughter don’t say it, such an arrangement could be causing them stress. It’s bothersome if they have to lift heavy boxes to retrieve a book or find a pair of pyjamas, for example. It may be a small inconvenience, but such small things could pile up and become a bigger problem days or weeks later.
It’s therefore necessary to tidy up your home, especially the belongings of your children who are home from uni. Help them get their things in order so that they’ll feel welcome and truly at home. There’s no need to unpack everything just yet, but at the very least, make sure their clothing and necessities are easily accessible.
Make Sure Everyone Has a Routine
Routines are crucial when a family of mixed temperaments, interests and age are to stay together in one house. Ideally, each member of the family should have a routine similar to what they had before the pandemic started.
Young children need to have designated hours for things they’d normally do in school or camp: studying, honing their hobbies or learning new skills. They also need a schedule for playtime so that they don’t make a habit of taking out their toys during mealtime.
As for your older sons and daughters, encourage them to stay productive while they’re still on break. You can help by assigning them housework like watering the plants, cooking or cleaning up the table or washing dishes after meals.
By keeping everyone busy during the day, you or your spouse will have space and peace to focus on your work. Working from home is challenging, all the more when you have a house full of children (and pets, for many) vying for your attention. It will take a collective effort for routines to work, but you must try to be strict about them so that you and/or your spouse won’t be distracted while you’re on the clock. This will also benefit your kids because the few hours apart will give everyone the headspace to regroup mentally and emotionally.
Watch Out for Petty Fights and Conflict
No matter how fond you are of your family, they will sometimes rub you the wrong way. Arguments are unavoidable, but you need to be alert for conflicts that could potentially give everyone heartache and stress. Encourage distance when friction threatens to escalate, and gently talk to those included in the quarrel. It’s better to nip conflict in the bud than to get stubborn family members to forgive each other when things blow up.
Follow these three tips if you want to maintain peace in your home during the lockdown period. Help your family avoid mental and emotional stress, and all of you will emerge from this quarantine with a greater fondness for one another.