Most Saturdays I elect to stay home, do chores and rest up for the upcoming week. This Saturday feels different because I know I can be at home for weeks at a time. My teens are expressing a dread and maybe even a fear of boredom. I know around the holidays law enforcement officials experience a rise in domestic violence situations because there’s more idle time. Our youth pastor, Mark Hall, teaches our students that idle time can tempt us to get involved in something sinful and destructive. We all know too much time online for anyone isn’t healthy. I’m sitting on my porch as I write this and I think time for us outdoors will be important in the coming weeks. I’m already noticing there’s not as much traffic passing in front of our downtown home than there usually is for a Saturday. Here’s our family’s plan for the coming weeks:
1. Spend Time Outside
We’ll eat meals on the porch, play games outside, and we’ll do activities outside that we’d normally just do inside. Being around nature lifts my spirits. I see birds, insects and squirrels. My parents have a much more fascinating yard with deer and wild turkeys roaming around! I plan on firing up our grill, roasting marshmallows and playing outside together.
2. Create Family Gathering Time
We will dust off our board games and have tournaments together. We’ll make popcorn and watch a movie together. We’ll let each family member give ideas on what they’d like to do together. We already have a list to choose from.
3. Add to Time Around the Table
We’ll eat meals together and linger over the dinner table discussing any wide range of topics. Random questions can be fun to kick around the dinner table if your family isn’t accustomed to eating together. We already eat together most days of the week but we can certainly spice up our meal times by adding a verse of Scripture to discuss or asking random questions. Each family member can prepare for mealtime by bring a question to the table.
4. Prepare Meals Together
Having teens in my home I’m always asking what they need to successfully stand on their own two feet. Cooking is certainly an important skill that best learned through hands on experience! Yes, it’s a slower process for me to teach as I cook but if I’m shut in I’ll have time.
5. Create Private Workstations
Working from home has its benefits but it can also have its challenges. I know setting up a workspace where I can focus will be important for me to be successful in my work. This will also be important with schools closed and all assignments will be given online or in packets. We’ll all need a space to do what we need to get done. We can even carve out certain hours of the day for school and work time.
6. Homes with Smaller Children Need a Quiet Time
When cooped up with kids sometimes we need quiet time spent alone to recharge. Have the entire family choose a space to engage in quiet activities. This gives everyone a break and makes space for solitary therapeutic creative activities like coloring, painting and many other ways we express ourselves creatively. Some parents will need a nap. In the past I was a single foster parent and when I needed my quiet time I posted a sign on my door that said, “Off Duty.” My kids knew to wait unless they had an emergency.
7. Give Everyone a Responsibility Each Day
No matter the age of the child, everyone can help with keeping the home clean. If we think about it, we parents can certainly delegate a little more and we know this takes more effort in the beginning but there’s a great reward at the end when another family member can do certain chores around the house.
8. I’ll Tackle Some More of that Home Improvement List!
I have several areas that attract clutter in my home. Each day I can tackle one. Today we tore out the hood vent over our stove and we’re working on painting the wall behind it. I have some areas the need organizing, some spring cleaning and decluttering. These are all tasks we can do as a family.
9. I’ll Call a Family Meeting
I’ll call everyone together to make decisions together about who will do what in the coming week. We’ll remind ourselves to be less wasteful of things like toilet paper and food. We’ll plan some things together to do each day and we’ll work as a team to make certain decisions together. I’ll let them know which foods in the house are for snacking when they feel like it and which foods are for planned meals. We’ve decided not to eat out when a first confirmed case appears in our county.
10. We will Trust God
We’ll not panic as stress lowers the immune system. We’ll live by the words of Jesus: