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Living in a metropolitan city means our lives are fast-paced and hectic. When COVID-19 hit, it brought the world to a standstill and forced us to pause and reevaluate how we have been living. With most companies asking their employees to work from home and schools taught their classes online, for the first time in a long time, many parents, kids and even grandparents are all under the same roof, 24/7 (Desai, 2020). Which also means that emotions are likely to run high, and arguments are exploding frequently. It seems as though no one can agree with each other anymore, and that almost every little thing is annoying someone in the house. The home that was once a place of solace and relaxation, it’s now also a school and workplace (Barnardos, 2020).

So, what do you do when you can’t seem to get along with your family members during this circuit breaker? One of the ways that you can do to calm the home environment and to find that middle ground as a family is stress management, this is important as the anxiety and fear we’re living in right now is affecting our ability to stop and stay calm when faced with bickering, and argument, rudeness, or even an off-handed comment (Barnardos, 2020). Hence, by managing your own stress it can help you to cope with that.

 

On the bright side, COVID-19 together with the circuit breaker measures has given families across Singapore an opportunity for familial bonding that was otherwise hard to come by. This forces people to work on their differences and find a middle ground so that they can live respectfully and amicably inside the same house. Families that often spend most of their time outside due to work and school are now finding grace in getting to spend “quality time” with other members of the house. This period of time has also given the family the opportunity to rekindle the relationship that may have been lost with their family.

 

Of course, the realities of day-to-day life under circuit breaker measures are more complex than simply a blank schedule. With parents working from home, essential workers scrambling for daycare, and schools demanding home-based learning for kids of all ages, the days can seem just as hectic and filled as ever. Yet reminding ourselves to slow down and take advantage of the rare opportunity to be together, at home, will help us create a positive outlook for ourselves and our families and help us reconnect and strengthen those family bonds, now and post COVID-19 (Collaborative Therapeutic Services, 2020).

 

The following suggestions may sound corny and cliché at first but in fact are fun ways to pass the time together and reengage as a family. 

 

Family Dinner

Not only do food bring people together, sitting together at the same dinner table also offers the opportunity for family members to engage in dinner table conversations. Furthermore, right now, when worry and anxiety about COVID-19 are at their highest, a family dinner is the perfect place to help children and teen process their concerns about current events (Collaborative Therapeutic Services, 2020).

 

Cooking Together

 

Bringing the whole family together into the kitchen to prepare a meal can be a fun family activity and a great teaching tool as well. Even young children can get involved by chopping the vegetables or measuring ingredients while teens and young adults can plan and prepare an entire meal for the family (Collaborative Therapeutic Services, 2020).

 

Game Night, Nintendo Switch Style

 

Even before COVID-19, the Nintendo Switch has been a great family game console.

There are a ton of Nintendo Switch games that are not just good for kids but also hoe easy they are to learn and play! Plus, the games are often appropriate for all ages, so whether its little siblings or grandparents joining in, your family night can accommodate everyone (Valentine, Spear, & Huebner, 2020)

 

Here are 5 Nintendo Switch multiplayer games for families (Stein, 2020)

  1. Overcooked 2 (or Overcooked)
  2. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
  3. Just Dance
  4. Super Mario Party

 

MAHJONG, Anyone?      

 

Mahjong is not only family friendly but also a great way to pass the time with your family (since a “full game” usually last about two hours). Furthermore, Mahjong is a great workout for your brain. And since you can pung, gong, and chow from other players’ discarded tiles, it makes it a great training for patience and observation for young children and teens (Yap, 2016).

 

With the new phase 2 measures that enables households to host up to five visitors at any one time (Ministry of Health, 2020) a game of mahjong also makes it a great way to reconnect with distant family members. So, how about a game of family feud but mahjong style?

 

Become TIKTOK Famous (or at least try to be)

 

It seems like everyone has finally joined TikTok so why not hop onto the TikTok bandwagon and create content as a family.

 

If you need a suggestion on what to start with, we got you covered! You and your family can start by taking on the viral dance challenge to the song “Something New”. This may be the easiest TikTok dance for a bored family to master. All you and your family members need to do is form a line from the oldest to the youngest, then each family member performs a little shimmy to reveal the next person (Associated Press, 2020). No harm giving it a try, and if you are lucky, your videos might even get on the “For you” page.

 

We also understand that finding the time to date your spouse can be rather difficult especially when both of you lead a very busy lifestyle. It also gets worse when you have kids as you might not even find yourself having the energy to date. However, it is important to note that time alone with your spouse provides both of you to have one-on-one moments that could help deepen the relationship and enhance the marriage (Lee, 2020).

 

So, here are 3 date night ideas for all the married couples out there!

 

Challenge your partner to a cook-off

If you have a few random cupboards supplies to spare, blindly select your ingredients and assign a time limit on each other to make something edible. This game can be adapted to suit what you have in storage or cooking ability (Taylor, 2020).

 

A Date to the Supermarket

Date night ideas do not have to be complicated or even involve much money. It can be as simple as taking a stroll in the supermarket to get the daily necessities and picking the best watermelon together!

 

Go on a Joyride

A joyride just to admire the night scene in Singapore can be a simple but yet a fun thing to do. You and your spouse can admire the CBD skyline, drive through the brightly lit shopping malls in Orchard Road, or get on a bicycle and venture to new places. These are some ways to reconnect with each other, reminisce the old dating days and play some songs that both of you love and just sing the night away (Lee, 2020).

As humans, we naturally take to people, such as our families for granted. Maybe once we are done with this difficult chapter, we will learn to appreciate our families and family time more.

 

Camellia Wong, MA., Demi Ng

 

References

 

Associated Press. (2020, May 8). TikTok dances to learn with your family that are easier than ‘Renegade’ and less awks than ‘I’m a Savage’. Retrieved from

https://www.scmp.com/yp/discover/entertainment/article/3081220/8-tiktok-dances-learn-your-family-are-easier-renegade-and

 

Barnardo’s. (2020, April 29). Coping with family conflict during lockdown. Retrieved from

https://www.barnardos.org.uk/blog/coping-family-conflict-during-lockdown

 

Collaborative Therapeutic Services. (2020, April 8). Family Bonds: How to reconnect with family and strengthen relationships during the COVID-19 crisis. Retrieved from

https://www.therapycts.com/blog/2020/4/8/family-bonds-how-to-reconnect-with-family-and-strengthen-relationships-during-the-covid-19-crisis

 

Desai, S. (2020, May 14). How the lockdown is cementing relationships and bringing families together. Retrieved from

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/life-style/spotlight/how-the-lockdown-is-cementing-relationships-and-bringing-families-together/articleshow/75731732.cms

 

Lee, L. (2020, May). 12 Fun Date Night Ideas for Mums and Dads to Relax. Retrieved from

https://www.wonderyears.com.sg/parenting/12-fun-date-night-ideas-for-mums-and-dads

 

Minister of Health. (2020, June 15). Moving into phase two of re-opening. Retrieved from

https://www.moh.gov.sg/news-highlights/details/moving-into-phase-two-of-re-opening

 

Stein, S. (2020, June 5). The best Nintendo Switch multiplayer games for families. Retrieved from

https://www.cnet.com/news/the-best-nintendo-switch-multiplayer-games-for-families/

 

Taylor, E. (2020, May 5). 10 date ideas you can plan without even leaving your house. Retrieved from

https://www.insider.com/date-ideas-at-home-coronavirus-social-distancing-quarantine-2020-3

 

Valentine, R., Spear, R., & Huebner, A. (2020, June 14). Best Family Games for Nintendo Switch in 2020. Retrieved from

https://www.imore.com/best-switch-games-share-your-family

 

Yip, J. (2016, April 26). Mahjong – an awesome family game. Retrieved from

https://www.blanksheet.com.hk/blogs/my-blank-sheet/99119617-mahjong-an-awesome-family-game

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