Before the Movement Control Order (MCO), children used to play in and around the house.
Weekdays would be spent going to school while weekends would be filled with homework and a flurry of activities and chores.
Now, many parents are spending time with their kids on a 24/7 basis. That can be stressful, especially if your young kids are chasing each other and making noise while you’re having a Zoom meeting.
So how do most of these parents cope? Here’s what they had to say:
1. They Make Sushi For Hospital Frontliners
Thomas (Kids aged 5yo, 7yo, and 9yo)
Thomas and his family have found a way to incorporate charity into their family activities.
The enthusiastic hands-on dad of 3 prepares the sushi roll ingredients:
Fragrant rice, mixed with vinegar, sliced carrots, pickles, and omelette while his 3 children help in rolling and cutting the sushi rolls.
They then pack the sushi rolls into boxes. Their mother, who works as a doctor, distributes the food to the hospital staff workers there.
2. They Play Dress Up
Joy (Kids 3yo and 6yo)
All kids love to play. It’s in their blood.
So what better way to let them have fun than to let them role play?
Joy’s kids dress up in costumes and play out their fantasies.
Sometimes, she sits back and enjoys seeing them play. Other times, she plays the role of either the ‘police’ or the ‘bad guy’.
“I feel that role-playing enables them to be more vocal in expressing themselves. It also spurs their imagination,” she believes.
3. They Play Boardgames
Joey (Kids 12yo and 14yo)
Not many youngsters enjoy board games these days. They are more attracted to fast-paced online games.
To keep the tradition and love for board games alive, Joey encouraged her children to play board games like snakes and ladders, Bingo and Jenga from young.
Her efforts paid off. Now, Joey’s kids spend their free time playing monopoly and scrabble on their own accord.
“I’m glad that my kids have not spent the past few weeks holed up in front of the computer playing computer games all day long,” laughed Joey.
4. They Exercise
Amy Wong (Twins aged 4yo)
Amy has a pair of twins aged 4. The mother of two finds it physically exhausting having to entertain two active little children of the same age at the same time.
With twins, it’s more often than not double the trouble.
To help them release their pent up energy, she gets them to exercise and play in their inflatable pool.
“The physical activities keep them happy and helps them sleep better at night.”
5. They Get Groomed
Eric (Kids 9yo and 4yo)
With no salons and barbershops open during the MCO, family members turn to one another for grooming sessions, with the kids usually being more willing to participate.
Here, Eric’s 9 years old enjoys a trimming session by his grandmother.
On the other hand, most of us adults are not as adventurous when it comes to having our family members trim our hair.
“What if my husband shaves one side of my head bald?” joked Jocelyn.
Many like Jocelyn would rather grow their hair out and wait for their trusted salons to reopen.
6. They Do Housework
Nicole (Kids 4 months, 3yo and 6yo)
This mother of 3 has her hands full every day. To ease her household chores, she ropes in her 6 and 3-year-olds to help.
She starts by making housework a game for them and allowing them to feel a sense of achievement in helping around the house.
“Even though they may not be able to help 100%, it’s important to acknowledge their efforts.”
Jael (Kids 4yo and 6yo)
To pass time in a more meaningful way, Jael has her kids help with simple household chores like sweeping the floor and cleaning up the house.
While the little ones may not be able to keep the house immaculately clean, the fact that they are helping out is what matters the most.
“It instills a sense of responsibility in them. Plus they get to see how hard it is for mummy and daddy to keep the house clean,” she says.
7. They Do Arts & Crafts
Thomas (Kids aged 5yo, 7yo and 9yo)
The ever-artistic father encourages his children to be creative and has them play with pottery, paintings as well as arts and crafts.
The past few weeks have seen them turning simple A4 papers into a world of animals, paper dolls and even a flurry of vehicles.
“Children’s imaginations are limitless and that if we allow them to explore, they can surprise us with new creations every day,” Thomas said.
Cherry (Kids 2yo and 7yo)
Cherry’s eldest son loves arts and crafts. As she is part of the essential workforce, she keeps her son occupied while he stays at home with the dad by furnishing him with papercrafts.
These crafts can keep her son occupied for a good period of time while the dad tends to the younger sibling.
From there, her little man turns the crafts into masterpieces which he will proudly show to his parents.
8. They Become Masterchefs
Melinda (Kids 13yo and 11yo)
The former teacher turned home-based baker wasted no time in passing the baton to her kids.
Melinda has been patiently spending time sharing her recipes with them and encouraging them to be creative with the flavors.
The result? Her kids are cooking their meals now!
Staying at home has its perks
We may all be stuck at home during these trying times. But don’t let that get to you. These parents have stepped out of their comfort zones to make beautiful memories with their children.
Sure, there will be days when the kids will whine, cry and get on our nerves but let them be little. They’re only that way for a while.
Let them explore, learn and tap into their creativity and maybe, just maybe, this MCO period might bring out the best in them after all.
For more stories like this, read: Life Before and After Having A Kid. What You Should Know and Millennial Motherhood: Here’s What It’s like Being a Malaysian Mom Today.