We are on to day 18 of Lockdown in South Africa apparently… 

How are YOU doing so far? i imagine we all find ourselves at different places on the continuum between Losing it Completely and Enjoying the Ride.

But there are definitely many people who face added challenges to some of us who have it relatively easy and this week i want to draw attention to some of those.

The first group that comes to mind is those people who have a new baby in the house and also parents with young children. Have heard from a few friends who have a new baby that it has actually been a really great time – all things considered – because it has given both parents a chance to be around a lot more for all of the early development.

So this post i want to focus on those who have young children. For parents of young children i have already collated two posts that give a lot of ideas of activities and online spaces that are available during this time for both educational and fun opportunities. And somehow i found myself in the middle of a group of Improvisers and Artists who have been presenting a different story or poem as a character on a YouTube channel we call Character Stories for Children. This seems to be working better for slightly older children as younger children want animation or movement. But if you haven’t taken a look yet please do, and today’s story at 3pm i believe is going to be one to be rememered [maybe more by adults than children] so please try and check it out!

A gift for you if you want it

But this idea is for those who don’t have children – i mean not exclusively, you can still use it if you have kids – and want to encourage someone who does.

Every day since lockdown i have been sending a voice note to the mom of a young boy with a lot of energy giving him a challenge for the day [draw a picture, create a building, time yourself touching every door in the house]. This feels like a completely selfish act and i’m pretty sure i am getting more out of it than him – cos the exploding [Mission Impossible style] voice notes he sends back are to die for.

i’m not even sure he does all the challenges but the interaction we have every day – me sending the challenge and him replying – feels like the tiniest of gifts i can do in terms of providing some outside distraction and focus.

Then on Saturday my birthday twin’s children were building things with these cool magnetic shapes called Magformers so i started sending them some challenges [a fish, a whale or shark that is big enough to eat that fish, a face showing me how you’re feeling right now] and they excitedly sent pictures back with voice notes asking for the next challenge. So much fun!

children creativity

Give it a try

So the idea is to find a creative and fun way to send a voice note to a child you know. Don’t send voice notes to children you don’t know – that’s a little creepy. But also what’s great about it is that i send to the parents and they have all the power to know if it’s good for their kids or not. In fact yesterday morning i was just missing all the children of friends and family that i sent a bunch of them voice notes just to say hi and check in [i was promised fudge and chocolate in return so not the worst idea – ha!]

Perhaps the best way to go about it is to check in with someone you know whose child knows you and ask them if it would be cool if you sent them a voice note for their child. Challenges are a fun way to go cos they will hopefully keep the kid busy for a bit.

You could also read a poem or even a story – put on an accent, make it super fun. With our nieces in Morocco Val and i dressed up for Friday’s P.E. with Joe and then video called them so they could see what we were wearing and share their costumes.

Parents with children breather

At the end of the day this is an encouragement to check-in with a family you know who has young children. If you know a single parent with children that would also be a good call to make. Just let them know you see them. And you get how it may be a little bit more tricky or exhausting for them. And see if they would like a fun voice note once a week or every now and then!

Anyone else doing this? Would love to hear your stories. And if, after reading this, you decide to give it a go, please come back and let me know how it went. 

The best way any of us is going to get through this time is if we do it together.

Oh, and whoever you are, i hope that you will be able to join us today for a very special story at 3pm on our kids channel. i really think this one has something for everyone!