How Can Kids Help During Quarantine?

Valarie Ruig

When school closed its doors almost three weeks ago due to CoVid-19, none of us knew what to expect.  In my own home, the kids took to their computers watching videos, trying new dance moves to pass the time.  We walked the line of sleeping in, bingeing on tv, and endless hours of phone time. We made cookies, watched movies, and took the dogs on long walks.  

While some mamas started homeschooling right away, I decided to give my kids and myself a reprieve.  But after almost two weeks of being on lockdown, both my kids and I were clamoring for a sense of normalcy.  

Corona quarantine pretty much sent me over the edge.  Maybe it was the moment I felt like I was room service, delivering meals to each of my kids.  Or maybe it was the fact that I just couldn’t get the kids on board with this new “distance learning” concept. What I did know was that I had three perfectly competent kiddos who were perfectly capable of making lunches, cleaning up, and even taking care of the duties at home.  

This wasn’t a hotel.

This wasn’t spring break.

This is not some extended vacation.

My frustration began to brew.   

In an attempt to corral the chaos during Corona quarantine, I had to take drastic measures to give my kids a sense of purpose each day.  I crafted a list of “Corona-cation” action items, addressed as chores contributions.  Chores are unpleasant tasks or small, odd jobs.  Whereas contributions are having a part in something bigger. They had to complete a handful of items each day.  My job was to validate their efforts on behalf of the team.  

It wasn’t that I didn’t want to do the chores, but I somehow went from a working professional to catering to everyone’s needs and taking orders like a short order cook.  I still had a job to do, I was still mom, and I still had the chores piling up.  

I decided to note all the things I was doing in the day, and then, I had an epiphany: Children all should be making contributions to the family – and not just in the face of a global pandemic, but for the good of the whole household.  Chores are unpleasant tasks or small, odd jobs. Whereas contributions are having a part in something. Contributions, not chores. 

I needed my kids to contribute to the success of the family.  They could get along and work together and complete parts that make the family whole.  My husband, holed up in his home office, didn’t have the time to roll out the trash cans.  And I, myself, an educator navigating the world of distance learning, needed time to craft lessons for my class.  The children began to become a vital role in helping the family unit function because of their contributions.  

If I am lucky, when we survive CoVid-19, we just might have some additional helpers making certain the household runs smoothly…and maybe a new definition of quarantine.

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