The year that went by has been quite overwhelming for everyone across the globe! The pandemic disrupted life at all levels, quite literally! The abnormals of staying indoors all the time, working from home all the time, ‘no school’ routine at all, suddenly and without warning became the new normal! Having said that 2020 has also been a great eye-opener. A live-it-through textbook that has helped those who survived the year learn a few (and more) lessons for life!
We anticipated that the months of total lockdown would be impossible to deal with. My husband and me were working from home. We were really concerned about how our 6-year old would sail through each day all by herself. Like everyone else, we missed our support system – our maid and our daughter’s nanny!
They say children are super resilient and awesome adopters of change. We saw this with our daughter, NiVi, during those months of zero contact with the outside world. She was able to keep herself creatively engaged for most parts of the day. Barring some random family cuddle huddles, that we totally enjoyed and looked forward to as well!. We had made a conscious choice of moving her into a Waldorf kindergarten in 2019. The one year NiVi spent there helped to a very large extent with living through the lockdown. We tried to recreate the school-time rhythm at home. Waking up early, cooking and cleaning together, having our meals together on the floor and sleeping early too! (Read more about Rhythms in our homes, environment and life)
What Kept Us Busy
There were fixed chores at home that were shared between us. NiVi would end up helping with most of them in some way or form. She would join us in our morning exercise routine – a small way to ensure physical activity indoors. Waldorf kindergartens encourage a lot of outdoor play. This was one thing we thoroughly missed while being indoors during the lockdown. We tried to encourage as much of running and jumping around indoors to allow for physical exertion by making the home a safe space for NiVi.
Kitchen chores turned out to be one of her favourites including sorting, cleaning, peeling, grating and slicing fruits and vegetables. Like many others we took to gardening too during the lockdown. NiVi would help us with prepping the pots with mud, sowing the seeds, watering the plants and then waiting as eagerly as us for the shoots to pop out and grow into tiny plants. We have always been into healthy baking and the lockdown gave us more opportunities to bake our own cookies, cakes and breads. NiVi would help with the measuring and mixing, pouring and patting. Not to mention the joy of experiencing awesome aromas that fill up the air and the impatient waiting for the cookies and cakes to cool down 🙂
Open Ended Play
Waldorf kindergartens also encourage a lot of open ended play. Wooden blocks, ice-cream sticks, pieces of cloth, sea shells, stones etc are some of NiVi’s favourites. When left to her own, she would use these in the most creative ways. On some days she would be a shop seller selling her wares, on another the blocks and sticks would be used to create some patterns on the floor. At times we would find her busy with pretend play – with the blocks doubling up as cookies that would be baked in an old shoe box perhaps that takes the form of a pretend oven! Cloth would be used for dress-up games or even for draping around furniture to create mini castles or tents. (Read more on the Importance of Playing with Cloth Dolls)
NiVi also spent her afternoons exploring some hand work projects. She practiced sewing, weaving and finger knitting based on what she had learnt at kindergarten. The joy of creating something by herself and using it was immense. I read somewhere that introducing hand work to children in their early years helps them believe that they can be self-reliant creators themselves. This self-reliance is a gift they will cherishh right through into their adult lives. Would strongly urge all parents to provide your little ones with this early opportunity at the right time. Their tiny nimble fingers are capable of wonders beyond our imagination.
To sum it all up, our lockdown days would begin with some physical activities followed by all the household chores like cleaning and cooking and some open-ended play. Some hand work after a wholesome family lunch was part of our everyday routine too. Fruits for evening snack, some story time and a light dinner would mark the end of the day for NiVi. We would have a couple of hours to catch up on some reading, pending work or even watch some Netflix :).
All Geared and Hopeful
Like everyone else we are eagerly waiting to brush aside and leave behind the pandemic and its impact on our lives. That said we will be ever so grateful for all that we learnt during the last year. We hope our little experiences above help spark some ideas in your minds. Do share what worked for you in the comments below, for us to learn from.