Welcome to the ‘Five Minute Family’ brought to you by Clear View Retreat, a family retreat ministry enlightening God’s relationship principles to families in both the ‘norms’ and ‘storms’ of life. Join us each week as we explore various aspects of family life. Today, we are tackling the quarantine blues.
For the quarantines to be truly protective of vulnerable populations, we must limit our public event interactions. That’s going to translate to A LOT of time to fill at home. Five Minute Families will possibly be better titled ‘five week families’ for the time being.
While we need to be intentional about the added time that we will spend together, please remember that we do not need to fill every moment for our children or for ourselves. One of the reasons we promote the concept of ‘disconnect to reconnect‘ here at CVR is so that conversations can be “organic,” meaning that the conversations we have with one another are characterized by continuous or natural development, not forced attentions and exchanges. Likewise, we know that children who engage in unstructured play and make-believe are developing essential psychological and emotional capacities as well as learning to solve problems and create new possibilities.
If you are a crafty person who feels thwarted during regular schedules, this should allow more flexibility for those creative ideas to flow. If you are a highly structured person who feels that you or your children will be missing out on quality academic options, then you will want to take advantage of the many educational opportunities online that are being opened for free, if only temporarily. Scholastic has a program opened to affected students, and there is a growing list of opportunities at the website amazingeducationalresources.com. If you do an internet search for ‘ideas during the quarantine,’ lots of great ideas will pop up.
The best way to introduce whatever ideas you may have would be through structure and an expected routine. Now, please do not try to recreate school at home. While some families may be able to pull that off, usually it causes more frustration than it helps. Five areas we suggest a Five Minute Family builds into their daily routine are:
1. Quiet time/Me time: Don’t neglect your Bible time and be sure to find segments of the day in which everyone is expected to do something quietly on their own for a specific period of time.
2. Contact time: Use this age of technology to your advantage. Please video chat with your older family members who are more susceptible to the worst symptoms and outcomes of this virus. Call and text. Keep in touch with folks outside of your home on a daily basis to keep connections going despite the level of quarantine you or your loved ones may be experiencing.
3. Intentional computer time: Again, those online resources come into play here, but also, actual video play time. Kids aren’t going to want to schedule their video game time, but encourage your child to be proactive to chat with online friends to set specific game times so that no one will feel left out and they get to have some fun together.
4. Project time: Do you have projects around the house that have been waiting for a bigger chunk of time to complete? Well, here is a gift in disguise. Use your time wisely. Non-house projects may include starting new hobbies such as drawing, painting, cooking, playing a musical instrument, or practicing magic tricks.
5. Outside or Physical time: Do not forget to include physical movement EVERY SINGLE DAY of your isolation. If it is raining or too cold, please make sure you have a fifteen to twenty minute “Inside Moves” plan. You can print off some stretches, pull up youtube videos of exercise sequences, or just make up your own.
No matter how well you plan, being shut-in is difficult. Be mindful of each family member’s emotional health needs, and keep lines of communication open to sharing honestly how they are handling the isolation. We suggest looking for phone, online chat, or video counseling options that can help if you are completely unable to get out. One such resource is the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s Disaster Distress Hotline: 1-800-985-5990 or text TalkWithUs to 66746. We always recommend that believers look for a biblical counselor if at all possible.
Remember, while none of us may have asked for these “social distancing” measures, we can switch our thinking to view this added time together as a gift — an opportunity to invest more than five minutes into our families. And this gives us the chance to put Scripture such as 1 Peter 3:8 into practice: “Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble.”
Thank you for joining us, and please visit us at clearviewretreat.org to learn more about us.