Coronavirus and the family: we’re here to help.
I’m writing to you today from my kitchen counter/office/lunch table today, because I, like many of you, am home with my kids and trying to balance work and family in strange times.
I have a 4 year old, a 9 year old, a 10 year old, and a 14 year old, so life just got very interesting and hectic, to say the least.
As I’ve watched friends, family members, and the members of our Goalsetter community struggling with our new normal, I’ve asked myself how we can help. I know this time is fraught with equal parts stress and fear, and I’m hoping we can help to ease a bit of both for you.
I believe we all have something to give to each other at this time, and my superpower is that I formerly led digital products at Nickelodeon, so I’m well versed in education + engaging digital content. I thought I’d share with you some of my favorite resources, ideas, and information to help you during this time.
1. Keep Saving (if you can). Markets are roiling, our economy is poised to slow down, and there is no better time to buckle down on your own finances and teach your kids the power of saving instead of spending. Even with volatile stock markets, experts say don’t run to take your money out of your bank accounts. They are FDIC insured for up to $250K, so the federal government has your back (and your kids’ back, too.)
2. Make Memories. Before the Corona craze, my kids and I deemed Sundays “Making Memories Day.” That meant that our day could consist of taking a hike, watching a family movie, or playing “Ticket to Ride” (Never heard of it? It’s one of our faves!) We can still do all of those things, and more. I’m adding to my list: Play more family board games. Do a big puzzle. Learn a TikTok dance (I know my kids will never post it, but that’s okay.) Have a jump rope competition. Play “Would you rather?”
3. Preserve Memories..and share them too. Have your kids go through your phone’s photos and “favorite” the best of the bunch. Upload the photos to Google Photos, Shutterfly or Mixbook, make an album for yourself, and share a digital or hardcopy album with Grandma or distant relative. It’s a great way to keep connected with family who may not be able to get out as much.
4. Start new habits. The daily melee of debate practice, trips to karate, basketball lessons, and playdates often don’t leave time for the kids to be able to contribute much to household chores. Give them the gift of a good work ethic by giving them a daily chore or two: disinfecting often-used surfaces, cleaning the bathroom, wiping down door knobs. If you have an hour extra hour each day, your kids do too, so your teenager’s “I have too much homework” excuse can now be readily dismissed without guilt. You can even set up a “pay per chore” allowance system with the Goalsetter app, and let them earn a little cash and learn a little hustle during this time.
5. Learn something new… as a family. I’m all about expanding my own vocabulary (adroit, acrimonious, or assiduous, anyone?), so why not do it as a family? Give points to each family member for using your daily vocab words in a sentence properly, and see who wins the big prize at the end of the week (an extra scoop of ice cream is enough to inspire anyone… adults included). Use the same technique for foreign languages, too.
6. Celebrate each other’s greatness. Birthday parties and large gatherings may be taboo, but a celebration of family members every day isn’t. Find something special about each person to celebrate, and rotate through family members so that each person gets a special day, and then another special day a few days later. In our home, it has been:
“Maxwell learned to read!” (Cue “Go Maxwell, Get Busy!” party dance for Maxwell.)
“Gabrielle always has a smile on her face!” (Cue: “Happy!” by Pharrell Williams)
7. Serve others. There are plenty of opportunities to serve others during this time. Instead of taking all of the toilet paper off the shelves, this is an opportunity for all of us to demonstrate that we’re in this together, and for your kids to learn it, too. There are still leaves on the ground that can be swept, or grocery runs that can be made for an elderly neighbor so they don’t have to expose themselves to potential Corona-carriers. Your kids can even do something online – all they need is a computer and an internet connection to make a big impact.
8. Make exercise a part of your daily routine. Even if you’re in a small apartment with limited or no outdoor space, keeping your family physically active will help reduce the psychological stress of this strange time. And will also prevent you from gaining the “Covid-19” (pounds, that is. ) Implement a new family rule: “Exercise during TV commercials!” Find an online yoga class to do as a family. Take up a digital Zumba class and get your family groove on.
9. Be a good neighbor. Social distancing might mean that you’re spending 90% of the time in your house, but it could also mean that you’re taking a walk around… your neighborhood! Spending more time in your ‘hood is an opportunity to support your neighbors (from a distance, of course) by sharing home-made biscuits (thrown down from the top of the stoop, of course), or giving up a few rolls of toilet paper for someone who didn’t make it to Costco before the shortages hit.
10. Call your grandma. Or FaceTime your favorite auntie. And don’t forget about that 20-something cousin who’s quarantined by himself. Social distancing causes loneliness for all of us, and having daily contact with people outside of your home creates a sense of togetherness and breaks up the monotony. My grandmother always said that if you want to feel better about your own situation, you should take time to brighten someone else’s day. And nothing brightens Nana’s day like watching the grandkids face-off in a pizza challenge on FaceTime.
We know this time is strange, but we are trying to practice an “attitude of gratitude” in our house. In that spirit, I’m grateful for this community of Goalsetters, and hope that we can serve you even more during this time.
Let us know how we can help. We’re in this together.
Founder, CEO and newly-minted homeschooling mom of 4 kids.