1. Making beds
2. Washing and folding laundry (teach children how to use the washing machine and dish washer)
3. Plan dinner and breakfast menus
4. Dust, vacuum & sweep floors
5. Clean bathrooms
6. Organise the cupboards
7. Wash dishes, dry and put away, disinfect door knobs, mailboxes, common surfaces
8. Clean the car, the garage, the boat, the refrigerator
9. Cut and stack wood. Sweep the driveway. Rake the yard. Get garden beds ready. Plant garden. Observe and admire your work.
To play together, you may be amazed what can be learnt about:
2. Resource management
5. Problem solving
But especially what can be learnt about each other by playing games. Play board games and the old childhood games that are disappearing:
1. I spy
3. Tag games
4. Hop Scotch
5. Jump Rope
6. Musical Chairs
7. Hot & Cold (Current Shock :))
9. Slap Hands
11. Blind Man’s Bluff,
12. Hide and Seek (in dark)
… Observe and relish your play.
To move together:
1. Go for a run
2. A bike ride
3. Build a fort or secret land
Enjoy the change in seasons, watch and listen to the returning birds, observe (smell) black cottonwood trees leafing out, take weather readings and predict the weather, move your bodies, walk with your breath. (NB: ‘phenology’ is the scientific study of seasonal change). Observe and remember your adventures.
To cook and dine together:
You’ll do a lot more eating together than maybe anytime since your children were babies. Show them how to cook your favourite dishes (maybe something your parents made).
And show the children how to set a proper table, how to have a conversation over a meal, how to serve tea, work on manners (grace and courtesy). Try to eat two meals a day together as a family. Starting and ending the day around the family table is a gift of talk and time. Observe and appreciate your food and family time.
To sing and make music together:
If you don’t play an instrument, listen to your children practice their instruments. Sing a lullaby you sang to them when they were infants. Make a family song book and illustrate it. Listen to favourite artists and talk about what you like about their music (not their ‘image’ but their music).
Singing together is a powerful way to build up the family structure – and, by the way, if only the prettiest birds sang – the forest would be silent. Where would our forests be without ravens and eagles and Stellar’s jays squawking across our mountains and valleys? There is beauty in the effort together. Observe and enjoy your music.
To make stuff, make art together; be crafty, construct stuff from:
1. Wood scraps
3. Felt and yarn bits
4. Play dolls
5. Get out the glue and tape and papers and cloth
6. Sew, knit, crochet
7. Make Origami
9. Compose music
10. Write stories
11. Make puppets, write a puppet play (or any play)
12. Perform a reader’s theatre after building the sets
14. Invent stuff
Practice the scientific method. Find the area of a room, the house, the yard, the street. Draw a map… Observe and admire your creativity.
To be quiet together:
Make quiet. A small silent time everyday resets things, brings the family in balance. Being quiet together is a powerful model for being still with one’s own thoughts. Reading, daydreaming, drawing…there are lots of ways to be quiet – but it is so dramatically powerful to value quiet and make it together. Observe and take delight in the peace.
To have fun together:
Make laughter. It will be remembered best and most of all. Read a funny story aloud. Tell jokes, tell stories about each other (and childhood stories), call grandma or grandpa and have them tell stories about their childhood (or your parents), forgive mistakes and laugh them off, chuckle at your inventions, creations, music…Observe yourselves and take yourselves lightly. Think and play and move and work and create and laugh together.
This is a time to connect, not correct.
Have compassion for one another in this new time. Everyone is generally doing the best they can under the most unusual circumstances. Be together.
There is enough time. Do real things.”