Hi there, mamas!
Wow, what strange and uncertain times we find ourselves in! With new questions and challenges that seem to change on a daily basis, I’ve found it quite overwhelming to filter through all the content.
There’ve been quite a lot of posts about things to do with the kids at home at this time, but I’ve found many to be rather long (too many options) and over creative – almost too arts and crafty. I’m thinking that maybe the answer lies in simplifying things and using what we have at our disposal instead of trying to recreate a school environment at home.
Perhaps we should use this “downtime” to really connect with our children and loved ones through mindful and relaxed activities. Maybe, it’s a call for us to slow down a bit, to start enjoying the simpler things and treasure the time we have together?
So, in the next couple of weeks, with our kids at home from school, I challenge you to try some of these “slow living” activities that you can do together as a family:
1. Family fishing
We’re truly blessed with being able to enjoy outside living in and around Stellenbosch. Our town is built around beautiful little streams and rivers and we all live close enough to one to take the kids fishing. While you pack a picnic basket for the day, let them start by looking for some rods in your garden (any wooden stick will do). Then, task them with looking for earthworms (even if they don’t find any) and when they’re done searching, open a tin of sweetcorn or use old bread as “bait” instead. Take the bicycles or walk to your nearest water pond and let the kids look for those fish to catch. It’s a wonderful way to spend time in nature and get some fresh air. Just remember to go to a spot where it’s safe for you to go as a family and “fishing” is actually allowed.
2. Get those green fingers tingling
Have you thought of getting a vegetable garden ready for spring? It’s a wonderful way to teach the kids about nature, where food comes from and having patience. They can use the next few weeks to check on their seedlings or sprouts and care for them as necessary. In a few weeks or months’ time (depending on what you’ve planted) there will be a harvest and you can remind them that the fruits or veg they pick are what they’ve worked for during their “staycation”. It’s also a great lesson of resilience and is proof that there’s always something good that sprouts from a challenging situation. This could also be, more than ever before, the perfect opportunity for you to start growing your own produce at home.
3. There’s no such thing as too many cooks
If your kids are old enough, this is a great time to teach them to make healthy meals for themselves. It’s so important to make kids aware of what they put into their bodies and educating them about making healthy food choices. There’s no better time than now to teach them the basics around nutrition, healthy meals and how food can be like “medicine” and boost our immune systems.
Instead of cooking unhealthy meals or baking sugary cakes and biscuits (sugar causes inflammation, so it is not a good idea to have too much during a time where immune systems shouldn’t be compromised) why not make smoothies together? Stock up on berries – you can get these from your local farmers or shops, and get some spinach, turmeric and fresh fruits full of vitamin C and let everyone create their own combos. Explain that these foods are great for fighting colds and flu and that food can help keep you healthy. You can even make ice lollies with some of these ingredients, so don’t let this opportunity go to waste.
4. Healthy home practices
This may be a great time to explore natural remedies at home and educating your children about the ways we can incorporate nature into healing practices. Essential oils can really come in handy now so get them from your cupboards and have a “natural remedy making” session with your littlies. It’s important to read up about this first and make sure that you know which essential oils are safe to use around pregnant women and children, but there are plenty of sources that will guide you with this. I find Young Living to be quite helpful.
5. Give thanks
For your older children and yourself, why not start a gratitude journal as a family? To prevent anxiety and fear dominating your home, get a book that everyone can write in to share what they are grateful and thankful for each day. These moments of gratefulness can be shared around the breakfast or dinner table. Simply give each family member a turn to write or even draw in the book and discuss their entries during or after your meal. This will shift the focus to positive thinking and will do wonders for lifting the atmosphere at home.
My final challenge to you all
Lots of small businesses will really struggle and even have to close their doors due to this viral outbreak. They will simply not survive weeks of little or zero cash flow. If you can do just one thing today, shop local and buy something from a small business. I’m really proud of how the small businesses in Stellenbosch are rallying together and how innovative they are being. Some have setup websites in a matter of days to start trading online, while others are giving great discounts on their products and offerings. We should really make an effort to support them!
As our President said last weekend in light of everything going on, “united we are strong”. So, make that effort. Together, we’ll get through this.