We returned from our trip to Turks and Caicos last Friday, on March 13th on the day the Coronavirus (COVID-19) became a classified pandemic. I admit I didn't want to go on this trip, but my family reassured me that we would be fine and that this virus wasn't anything we needed to worry about at that time. I felt differently but took the jet plane there and back very anxiously.
Since we landed we have begun the process of self-isolation for 14 days, as we may not be showing signs that we are ill, or symptomatic, but could perhaps be carriers of COVID-19.
I have decided to let you know what we are up to, which is helping us stay grounded, calm and creatively-positive. Our family lifestyle is very much outdoors and active. We are still keeping active in our yard, but it's very different than taking a bike ride to the lakeshore, or climbing up trees and the jungle gyms at our local parks.
Both myself and Eric created a schedule for our family. We tried to incorporate 2 learning activities a day, one in the a.m. and one in the p.m., as well, 3 outdoor activity times and opportunities for free time.
To create our daily plan we ask the children what they want to do the day before and create activities based on their ideas and interests working our daily schedule around those items.
I won't list the exact timeframes because every family is different, and timing is meant to be flexible.
OUR SELF-ISOLATION DAYS:
We start our day after we have breakfast with some yoga and/or mindful play activities. The children lead the YOGA stretches. We all take turns leading. It is a lot fun and they have some awesome moves I didn't even know about!
We go outside afterward for 30-40 minutes then come in and do an art or craft-based activity or a learning activity. We swap this up daily.
Once they are done they have some free-time before lunch.
After lunch we head outdoors for free-play, story time in our tree house and build with wood.
We have lots of fun outdoor sporting equipment and toys to play with.
If there is sometime after outdoor play and before dinner we do a learning activity before they watch an episode or a short movie. Friday nights have always been our movie nights but since we are home all of the time now we have geared our television and/or our timed iPad usage to strictly educationally based programming (I know, we aren't fun). Also, when we watch a movie it is educationally-based, as mentioned, and we follow it up with an activity. We have been watching episodes from the Blue Planet series and tomorrow we are creating our own Pokemon character cards that depict and incorporate some of the animals we have learned about in the Blue Planet episodes. It helps their minds stay engaged while watching the programs, as opposed to remaining unconscious.
As a treat, we watched SING this week under the condition that they had to put on their own talent show after the movie was over, and they did. They drew-up a plan that included their stage set-up, equipment, and lighting requests, (which, with the help of Eric and myself, included fireworks). Their plans also outlined costume designs and song titles for each performance. It was fantastic. We have been creating sewing projects too. We have geared our days to whatever activity they are interested in based on the books I lay out for them or ideas that they imagine-up, but they are mindful that the materials we use may not always be what they have in mind or what the books outline, as we don't have everything on hand and are limited at this time. I also have to add, that I love following things up with activities as you can see, like the movies we watch. It makes things really come full-circle in an amazing way.
Before Dinner, we do our dinner-prep together, but not always. Sometimes my two older children will read for me while I am preparing dinner. They take turns of course. We have a table-top easel set up with paint and paint brushes ready so the kids can do a quiet activity.
It is so important to have activities and supplies out and available for them so they can create independently. My youngest will also sit herself down and quietly look through the books we have out. At times, she will tell me about each book as she is turning the pages. After dinner prep, we all eat supper together and then clean-up together. After dinner clean-up we play a family board game/game or have an outdoor fire in our fire pit, and play outside until our bedtime routine kicks in.
Lights out at 9 p.m.
We have always kept busy like this. Not a lot has changed except Eric is home now, where as before I would organize the children's after-school programming, school drop-off and pick-up and take them to their extra-curricular activities until Eric got home for dinner.
Now, Eric does the woodworking with our children in the afternoon (but we leave the tools out so if they want to use them on their own during free time they can). Both Eric and myself plan the activities. I do the morning to afternoon routine. During the mornings Eric works on home projects and catches up with his building/renovation business and then we switch it up so he has the children during the afternoon as I work on my own photography business and photo/artistic projects.
The big difference is not being able to leave our house, which I think most people are having a hard time with. The kids are not able to play with their neighbourhood friends, or have the opportunity to leave our home beyond our yard, and being city folks, we really enjoy the social aspect of having people around. I have noticed a difference in our children's and in our own behaviour. We have been honest with them regarding the virus, but they can't help but act-up amongst all of the limitations it has imposed. I also jog everyday and practice Muay Thai outside of my home. Eric is also a people person. Face-time has helped us connect with others, and taking/making phone calls is great too. It's nice to chat with friends and our relatives alongside keeping up with how everyone is doing. Social media is also a nice pick-me-up. I love all of the accounts I follow on instagram. Having online resources has been a saving grace for virtual-socializing, staying connected and making necessary online purchases.
Our grocery shopping routine was also something we needed to work around. Regarding food, we ordered groceries online at our local grocery shops, and have had lovely friends and relatives pick-up our orders or shop for us and leave our groceries at our doorstep. So sweet right! We are very thankful.
All in all, I can't deny it, it has been challenging to stay home and not be able to venture out, but we hope by next Friday once our 14 days of self-isolation is up we can do a bit more physical activity outside of our own backyard while still maintaining social distancing. It is so important to be responsible and do this for our communities. If you have travelled please do the same. And if you have not travelled please tell those friends and/or relatives that have returned from travelling to stay-put and outline what they should do regarding self-isolation.
We hope everyone takes the outlined measures necessary to get through this. Both Eric and myself are grateful that: schools, community centres, libraries, museums, and more, have established their closures alongside cancelling any large group gatherings at this time. Social distancing is key and not going out unless you need to is very important. Washing your hands and coughing or sneezing in your sleeve is a huge help. Limiting your contact with people and standing 6 feet away is what has been advised.
The sooner people take these matters seriously and listen to the advice given, the sooner we will recover from this.
As heavy as all of this is we are trying to stay positive and be optimistic. This will take time and will have its toll on our planet in a variety of ways. If we work together, I believe things will resolve.
Here are some fun education resources:
If you are worried that you may have COVID-19 or are unsure what to do this is an incredible informative site. Please share it with friends and family...
Coronavirus (COVID-19) Symptoms and Treatment
Love: Jo xoxo