Take stock of what you have.
Social media feeds are filled with news of people storing up groceries. What are you stocking up currently? In my family, this is what we stockpile on:
1. Keep stock of ourselves: Fill our learning tanks
We often lament at how we don’t have time to do what we want for ourselves. Recently, the time spent on getting ready for work or school, commuting to school or the office, going out on weekends, attending social gatherings – are freed up when families are urged to stay and work from home. We have more time on our hands now!
Start a conversation with our children on what is it that they have always wanted to do and learn for themselves? It may be learning a foreign language, picking up cooking skills, taking an online course on psychology or watercolor painting, filming and editing a video, or gardening.
Make a list – and you will find a family’s “curriculum” writing itself! You won’t need to worry about getting their buy-in since this is what they want to do. Just help them get to the resources they need.
If you can do anything now, what will it be?
2. Keep stock of our homes: Fill our homes with appreciation
We cannot necessarily get some of the items that we need during this period. How can we address this with our kids who are asking why this is happening?
With older children, the panic buying, empty supermarket shelves and exorbitant prices of masks and hand sanitizers offer great jumping-off points to discuss issues of market forces: What is demand and supply, what causes price to increase or decrease, when does the government intervene?
For the younger kids, showing them a simple chart on where our food supply comes from often triggers interesting questions from them. Spot these countries on the map. Find out how the food travels from one place to another around the world, and what can possibly hinder that travel.
As a whole family, try growing your own food. Perhaps herbs for a start, and if you have green fingers, why not a vegetable garden? Check out the Facebook pages of the urban gardening or container gardening groups in Singapore for tips and tricks.
Your trip to the supermarket to fill your pantries will never be the same!
3. Keep stock of others in need: Fill in the needs of others with what we have
During these times of social distancing, there is an even higher need to increase human connection. There are many ways to check in with our loved ones even without physically meeting up.
Look out for those in need around us. It can be that mother who has just given birth, who may need more supplies; or our neighbours’ young children may be visibly agitated at home without their frequent outdoor plays or library visits. Do you have some outgrown babies clothes, novel indoor games or anything that fit their needs – readily available in your homes?
Have your children involved in this giving and gifting process. Beyond the benefits of developing character, I recall the countless times my conversations with my children were diverted to issues of classification and spatial awareness as we busied ourselves sorting and packing the gifts of blessings.