Staying home evokes mixed reactions in a household, whether you are with your nuclear or extended family. Why not view this situation as an opportunity for fostering deeper family bonds? We have compiled a list of things you need to consider as you prepare for and get through this pandemic.
4 Family Management Tips When Staying Home During a Pandemic
1. Set new house rules
When setting new house rules during the pandemic, be patient in explaining why you should stay home. The tighter measures can be a challenge for adults who will take care of most tasks in the household, but it can be tough for children.
Have rules about the daily flow of life like chores, work, meals, personal hygiene, and bedtime. Clear guidelines minimise conflict, as people know exactly what is expected of them. Before you set these rules, however, make sure that you get input from everyone in the household. If your kids are older, you can even ask them to suggest house rules so that they feel involved in the decision-making process.
Spend some time to air your feelings about the crisis so you can set an open and positive tone. Gather the whole family for a discussion over dinner. Talk about the upcoming changes and how the circuit breaker measures will affect each individual.
2. Have open family conversations
Open communication help ease fear and worry. It is inevitable that members of your family will feel anxious and uncertain about the current pandemic. Your children may worry about home-based learning (HBL) and not being able to play outside.
Seniors may be concerned about the availability of facilities they were used to such as the hawker centres they frequent to have kopi or chat with their friends. They may be dismayed at the shift in their daily routines and the loss of community that gave them a sense of involvement and productivity.
Family conversations help overcome fears by providing the members with assurance and ample information to their common questions:
- When can I play outside?
- When can I go back to school?
- What can we expect with the situation?
- Most importantly, why do we need to stay at home?
3. Be a good listener
Active listening makes family conversations satisfactory and helps resolve conflicting reasons among family members. Show interest in what other members of your family are saying.
Assure them that you’re listening, understanding, and engaging with them throughout the conversation.
Here are a few phrases you may use to explore the feelings of your family members and opening the lines of communication:
- How do you feel about these new rules?
- What is bothering you about COVID-19?
- You can tell me your doubts; I am listening.
Brainstorm with everyone, and together come up with a conclusion that will benefit the family and avoid misunderstandings.
4. Make it a family goal
The common greeting now is “Stay safe!”
Make this a family goal by ensuring that everyone takes part in this process. They will feel a sense of ownership towards the goal by recognising that each person has a role to play in keeping the whole family safe and healthy during this pandemic.
Overcoming the challenges brought about by the pandemic as a family strengthens the bond of couples, improves relationships between parents and children, and draws siblings closer to each other.
We hope that these tips are useful in your journey as a family. After all, home is not a place – it’s a feeling!