In the days before Covid-19, I remember how anxious I felt if we had a weekend without any plans. Then come Circuit Breaker.
Staying home for an entire day with two young kids – Benji, 6, and Jemima, 3 – was an exhausting prospect. If you had told me back in January that we would spend a quarter of the year locked up in our homes with no school, no playdates and– for a significant portion of time – no going outside at all, I would have fainted on the spot!
With schools closed and my husband, Reuben, drowning in Zoom calls, I plunged into the Circuit Breaker in April with great trepidation. I’m a full-time stay-at-home mum, and we don’t have a live-in helper. So though I was kept very busy juggling the cooking and cleaning, I was fortunate enough to be able to focus most of my attention on managing the kids’ home-based learning (HBL) and keeping them happy and occupied.
One of the first things I did was to order a 5 kg. bag of rice, so I could create a sensory bin for my daughter. We coloured the rice using food dye and vinegar, then stored it in a big plastic tub along with sand toys and pouring and scooping tools. My daughter loved to potter around with the rainbow rice, while I did some HBL work with my older son. It was messy but totally worth it!
We also decided to plan fun activities once or twice a week, so we had something to look forward to. After having to cancel a much-anticipated family holiday to celebrate my parents’ 50th wedding anniversary in Australia, Reuben and I came up with the idea to surprise our kids with a pretend holiday. We got them to pack their suitcases and then handed them homemade airplane tickets. They were treated to an “in-flight movie”, complete with hot towels and snacks.
Another such treat involved creating a sushi train restaurant using my son’s toy train set and some Japanese goodies. We made a menu, got dressed up and role-played the entire thing. The kids loved taking turns being the waiter! Just as fun but much simpler were pizza picnics we had on the living room floor, sitting on a picnic mat and surrounded by our houseplants.
By the end of the Circuit Breaker period, we were all surprised by how much we had adapted to life indoors. It was an intense and exhausting time, and yet there was something very precious about being forced to slow down and spend time together. My family has memories from this period that we will treasure forever. We are, however, still trying to get our waistlines back after gorging on all of my lockdown baking.
By Ginny Png, The Finder Kids Volume 29 / Images: Ginny Png
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