Ways to cope with Unexpected, Unlimited Family Time During Lockdown!

We are currently in uncertain times. The children are not attending school, parents are working from home or not working at all. While some embrace all this ‘family’ time, others are struggling to adjust….and parents have unexpectedly become home educators.

So how best to cope in this situation?

Be Kind to Yourself

You have not suddenly become supermom or superdad over night. Go easy on yourself and take each day as it comes. Don’t go comparing yourself to what other parents are supposedly doing – social media posts don’t always show the reality behind the scenes.

Have Some of Kind of Structure to the Day

As this situation is looking like it will continue for a number of weeks then it might help to have some kind of structure to the day. Although allowing the children to have a bit of a lie in, I find it beneficial not to let them stay in bed all morning. Keeping lunch/dinner at roughly the same time each day helps with a bit of normality and routine. I don’t find a strict timetable suitable for us personally but a rough plan of when to do what does help.

Don’t Stress if you are Struggling with ‘Home Educating’

For those of us who’s children go to school we have been thrown in at the deep end now with their education. Some of us may not know at what level our children are working at; what they have already learnt and what they were going to learn. Most schools though are being helpful with providing some work and guidelines.

However, these are tough times for the children as well so go easy on them too. Don’t panic if the younger ones in particular haven’t got their work done or are struggling to focus. Just do what you can. Life isn’t just about sitting and doing worksheets…things like baking, going out in the garden if you have one can be just as educational.

Look After Yourself too!

As parents we do put our children first, concerned more about their needs rather than our own. But don’t burn yourself out. YOU are important to and we need to make sure we are taking some time out for ourselves if possible.

I asked a few fellow bloggers how they were coping with the lockdown.

We try to plan our day around Salah instead of the clock (adhan acts like an alarm where we shift our focus to the next task after we’re done with Salah).
Nowadays I’m trying to wake up before Fajr (also to warm up for Ramadan) and it gives me much more time for my own tasks like my studies or AYEINA work.
When kids get up, we all start with some time together to set the tone of the day – cuddles and dream-sharing etc.
After bath routine, we get our morning basket/homeschool study materials out – Quran/hadith/book reading etc. I give them warm honey water, banana or dates alongside. If I start directly with a proper breakfast, somehow I stay stuck in the kitchen and kids get whiny as a result of me not giving them that exclusive time first thing in the morning which charges their batteries.
The length of homeschool session depends on my 4yr old. With breakfast in between (rather than in the start), we get a break in between too.
After dhuhr, it’s free play time – which means open-ended toys, art, running/cycling etc. (inside the home – as we have minimal furniture). When they start fighting, I put the youngest one to sleep 😅
In this slot, I usually reply DMs/emails/do IG stories and posts etc. (Reactive work)
After Asr is house chores – cooking/cleaning. Outdoor play and then bath for kids.
Then dinner when my husband comes.
Family time and final clean up.
After Isha, it’s book reading again. Then our Jannah discussions (I tell a jannah hadith/verse from #JannahJournal and then ask her what she’d like in Jannah to end the day on a positive note).
Sleep adhkaar and then sleep.

While my hubby is facing lock down in India we are facing lock down in UAE. With recent loss of children’s Grandpa, my children are really hurt. My children give me strength to remain strong.

For now I’m being more lenient with them. I play carrom which I’ve avoided for years. I try to keep my children busy to prevent them from getting upset. They assist me in house keeping. Surprisingly they enjoy dusting and sweeping the home as I mop the floor. My home had never been this clean!

Currently, they have accepted the situation and are happier. With an increase in E-learning sessions my children seem happier by connecting to their friends and teachers. Alhamdhulillah.

We generally start our day with fajr Salah followed by morning supplications. We have a daily Quran session. For now I’m not expecting them to complete memorizing fixes portion of Quran at the fixed time.

Insha Allah when things get normal I’ll get back to my usual routine.

Like me if you want to make a difference, please STAY HOME; STAY SAFE. I hope and pray that this situation brings best out of us and strengthens us.

I set a loose homeschooling timetable based on how my 2 children prefer to learn. My son prefers keeping brain work in the morning, while my daughter prefers alternating ‘brainwork’ with creative tasks. Involving them in creating their timetable and giving multiple options in tasks helped them engage with the work and they’re actually enjoying it.

During their breaks, I try to spend part of it stopping my office work and having a chat or fun with them. After the first week, I’ve been letting my children choose which routes to take for our walks. Again, this gives them a bit of a sense of choice and control so they enjoy it more.

We have a daily movie or games night, where the children choose their favourites. Tech all put away (even mine!) and we relax together after dinner.

Together with my 6 year old I’ve set a home learning timetable. Well, more of a loose guidance for us, just so we do something productive every day, and not just sit in our PJs watching tv 😆 Bit of exercise in the morning, then some English and/or Maths, then Daddy is responsible for some Islamic studies. Then we do whatever else we feel like, choosing from Geography, History and Science – this might involve just reading a book, looking at a map and chatting about certain places, or even cooking together. Toddler isn’t really interested in organised activities, only joins in arts/crafts time and cooking 😉

And then some days none of us can be bothered so we do end up just staying in our PJs and watching tv, or playing in the backyard when the sun comes out – and that’s fine too 😄

Be gentle with yourselves. It’s a really mind-spiraling time at the moment. There are no right or wrongs for this journey. We will have good days and bad days. We may decide to do some worksheets or we may decide to cuddle on the couch and watch a movie. We may be constantly monitoring the news or an emotional wreck or we could even be learning to live for the moment, whatever stage you are at – it is the right stage for you and your family. And you’re doing an amazing job.

Stay safe and inshaAllah see you on the otherside.

My kids have online schooling, so that takes up most of their mornings. During their free time they do arts and crafts, we cook dinner, bake together, they’ve been building puzzles and lots of Lego and I’m teaching them to do chores around the house as well. My eight year old is in charge of laundry. My four year olds make their own bed, tidy up their room and playroom and use the mini vacuum to clean up. They also offload the dishwasher. We’ve been reading lots of books together as well.

Great time together during the ‘Stay at home’ period. We start our days with revision of the Quran memorization in the morning for 15 minutes on our own, followed by housekeeping and doing the laundry before they start their learning journey depending on their schedule. My 6 children and I work together in preparing the lunch and dinner, being creative in the kitchen. We allocate 1 hour every day for outdoor activity in our garden to keep us active and healthy.

The lockdown is as hard for the kids as it is for the adults. Though the kids may not express it, deep down inside they surely find it challenging too. So my husband and I think that parents’ involvement and a structured schedule are important during this testing time. We try our best to carry on the school time table at home. And we take turns to sit down with the boys to help with their works. However, we give the kids longer breaks, and a bit of leniency to choose whatever they want to do to entertain themselves. For our 9-year-old, we normally give one hour break after every hour that he spent in study, reading, research, or doing a project. As for the elder one (he’s 13 yoa.), he does 2-3 hour work with an hour and a half break each time. Often, he would just choose to play the video game with his school friends, while the little one just wants to watch TV. We don’t mind. But we set the time for some family activities such as quizzes, monopoly game, watching Netflix, sitting out in the garden, or just chatting to discuss whatever topics the kids want to talk about. Every now and again, we also do extra activities with kids like cooking, baking, or gardening. Also, we set the rule for everyone to do 30 minutes of exercise every day. By following YouTube, using the cross trainer, practising martial arts, or just doing walking/ running laps in the back garden. Alhamdulillah, so far this works fine. It seems the boys are coping well and quite cooperative that they actually give us time to get on with our works.  

How are you finding staying at home and being in ‘lockdown’?

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