Life in Lockdown Emma Foxwell
Caption: Emma Foxwell
Caption: Emma Foxwell
So, after a few weeks of doing this juggling act and trying to keep everyone from losing their sanity, here we are approaching week four. At the start of all this I thought it would be quite simple – the kids would be doing mountains of schoolwork and we would get lots of gaming and have plenty of structured activities planned – all would be good. What could go wrong?
Well for a start, nothing about this situation is normal and both the kids (aged 8 and 6) plus myself and my husband Kevin have all had to be way more flexible than any of us could have first predicted. With that, all my carefully crafted plans ended up being used as paper aeroplanes on the first day. And that was how our isolation experience began – from something very planned and co-ordinated to something where we strive for fun and laughter each day – adjusting to go with the flow of doing things, which allows us to adjust to what everyone needs.
We have tried and failed at making rabbits out of origami but there was still lots of laughing involved even though they didn’t remotely look like rabbits.
The children love animals and spring is great for this, so I have managed to mix their schoolwork with their love of animals. Weaving their interests into their work has meant there is going to be some awesome work going back to school. For instance Pokémon going to Hogwarts, and dragons chasing unicorns. Adapting the schoolwork to accommodate the kids’ interests has been vital. There was no way I was going to add any stress to myself or the kids. I was determined we needed to have fun when everything around us was so uncertain.
So why do I do all these focus activities?
Well we have no garden and as someone who needs to be shielded, the people in my area have odd ideas about social distancing. So here we are, we could either go insane and have a miserable time and hate every minute or we could have as much fun, silliness and laughter as physically is possible.
We work on things in very short bursts of time. When the children’s motivation is low, or they are getting distracted quicker, that is a sign to me to change the activity. That is not to say we just change when they are stuck, but if you feel like you’re walking through treacle carrying an elephant then perhaps it’s a good time to change instead of ending up with things in a big old mess with fighting and crying and stress overload. That just isn’t fun and really happened on our first day. It was a mess.
This is what made me realise our days could not be like this and that things had to be done differently, especially as nobody knows how long this could be going on for. I knew I needed to have something that would work with how we are in that moment and could be readjusted daily. So that if we are feeling that things are not working out, or things could be improved, then there can be an open discussion that we all have. Although however much the kids ask, they do have to do some sort of writing at some point, I just have to make it fun for them.
So however long this goes on for, and however many hard days we do have, and we will, we are all working together making crazy animals, having the kids thinking I am daft and silly and laughing at me or with me and that is fine with me.
There are so many things that we as a family cannot control or have any influence on, but how we choose to deal with this situation has had a big impact on how we are all coping.
Going with the flow and aiming to make things fun has really taken a lot of the stress out of this situation and has meant we can reconnect as a family.
Take care and stay safe.
Emma’s report is the fifth from our series ‘Life in Lockdown’ featuring lockdown stories from people in Dorset and across the globe. ‘Life in Lockdown’ aims to shine a light on how people’s lives have been affected by lockdown and how they are surviving. They will share their experiences and tips for living in lockdown. We will be publishing the reports online over the next couple of weeks and in the upcoming May 4Dorset magazine. If you have a lockdown story you would like to share please get in touch as we would love to hear from you.
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