If you have a child or more, there is a high chance that you have struggled with how to keep you and them busy during the quarantine. Most parents whose kids go to school while they are at work now find themselves at home for twenty-four hours playing mom/dad/teacher/friend/referee/entertainer to the kids. This new but temporary normal can take some getting used to, but don’t tear your hair out yet or give in to frustration, overwhelm or anger. In sha’a Allah, there are so many ways that you can keep everyone busy and thriving in this quarantine period.
How to Keep Kids Busy
Kids are generally very active creatures. You would know if you have toddlers and preschoolers running endlessly from one part of the house to another, screaming and laughing. So, having all this time to stay indoors and not visit friends, go to school or the park can leave them with more than enough energy to tire you. So, what do you do? Here are a few productive suggestions:
Sign them up for Online Activities
One of the best things that this coronavirus pandemic has brought is a huge increase in the amount and variety of online activities that are available for kids, from babies to teenagers and young adults. If you made a Google, Pinterest or Instagram search, you will find loads of free resources for people who want to teach or entertain their kids at home.
Many of these online resources engage the kids online, giving them something to do while giving you the space to catch your breath. Here are just a few of the activities that you can sign up for:
- Quran/seerah classes for kids
- Art and craft classes
- Fitness/sport classes
- E-learning schools via Google classroom or Zoom
- Skill acquisition classes (something as basic as handwriting is fine)
All of these classes will engage children and keep them busy for parts of the day.
Schedule Family Time
Kids want attention from the adults in their life, and if you have noticed, they get cranky and naughtier when they are trying to get you to do something with them but you are preoccupied with something else. The solution to this is to have a scheduled family time where you focus on the kids and do whatever activities that you have agreed upon. Let the kids know that every day at a particular time, there is going to be “us” time and we will do something that you want to do. The result of this is that they learn to exercise patience when they see you occupied with your own work or chores, knowing that they will get a chance to do stuff with you soon. This also gives you time to yourself.
Here are a few suggestions of activities that you can do with kids during family time:
- Tell stories from the Quran
- Read, recite or listen to the Quran
- Learn a thing or two about Islam
- Play games together
- Watch TV
- Cook/bake together and let them help out
- Fix something around the house
- Do some school work
- Make video calls to relatives and friends
- Chat about things that the kids love to talk about
- Read books
- Make gifts for each other (kids love giving cute little gifts that they made themselves)
- Craft together
Family times are a way to fill your child’s cup, giving you a way to attend to their emotional needs, and this is important during this period. When kids are given adequate attention, they are less cranky or whiny.
Bonus: If we spend Ramadan in quarantine, all these family time activities are great ways to keep your kids engaged, especially activities that revolve around the Quran and the deen.
How to Keep Yourself Busy During this Period
While many people are now working from home as a solution to the quarantine, nearly all of us (whether working or not) now have an increased amount of free time in our days. This can lead to a constant feeling of not knowing what to do with yourself, becoming lethargic, or finding that the days just blend into one another and you can’t talk about something meaningful that you have done.
Yes, this is a difficult time, but a Muslim takes advantage of their free time before they get busy, remembering that we will account for our time and how we spent it. So, to not run yourself crazy with boredom and lethargy, here are a few suggestions of how you can keep yourself busy during this coronavirus pandemic:
1. Improve on your Ibaadah(acts of worship)
Before we were forced to stay home, many of us would say that work, school, and other commitments are the reasons why we are not able to do more ibaadah than we desire to. Now that we have some free time, it is time to keep ourselves busy with more ibaadah. Strive to pray all the obligatory salah at their appointment time, and make efforts to pray more non-obligatory prayers. Read more of the Quran, listen to Islamic lectures online, keep in touch with relatives, fast every Monday and Thursday, and recite the remembrance of Allah (ta’ala) as often as possible. This will keep you busy, in sha’a Allah.
2. Pick Up a New Skill
We know that many people say that no one should be pressured into spending this quarantine period trying to gain new skills, but if Allah (ta’ala) has blessed you will good health, home, and stability during this period, we highly encourage that you keep busy with things that will benefit you in this life also, such as gaining a new skill.
Maybe you’ve always wanted to learn how to grow your own vegetables, build a website, code, write a book, bake a cake, learn the art of public speaking, learn a new language, or even improve on your tajweed. Now is the time to get started. You can advance your proficiency in anything if you take small but consistent steps during this period that you have some free time.
For anyone with kids, this can be a challenging period, but it doesn’t have to be. We can make this a positive experience for our families by keeping ourselves busy in a productive way.