Staying home doesn’t have to be boring

What you and your family can do at home during a pandemic

The novel coronavirus COVID-19 has forced businesses to shut down, travel plans halted, events cancelled and some countries on lockdown. In fact, the Malaysian Government on Monday (March 16) issued a MOVEMENT CONTROL ORDER that will come into effect from March 18 to 31 to prevent the disease from spreading.

Our best bet to get through this ordeal is to stay home, avoid going out and practice social distancing whenever possible. And of course, do what the authorities tell us to.

Staying home might sound boring, but there are so many things we can do to pass the time. It’s also a perfect time for family bonding, especially for those who are usually very busy with work. Sure it’s not safe being around so many people outside, but at home, we’re in control of our personal hygiene and our surrounding. Therefore it’s perfectly safe to be with our family in the safety of your home.

That said, here are some things we can do together with the family at home to ride out the pandemic:

Up your culinary game

Now’s the perfect time to try new recipes with the family. Get everyone involved by assigning each family member to a specific task. Maybe little Ashraf can help wash the veggies while Dad deals with the proteins. Big sis Siti can chop up the onions and other aromatics while Mum puts everything together in the frying pan. You’ll have plenty of time to try out new recipes every day and switch things up in terms of who’s doing what. It’s a fun way to hone your cooking skills and get everyone to learn how to cook. Keeps the family close too!

Work that body

We often use “work” as an excuse to not do some workout. Now there’s no reason why you cannot get in on a fitness routine. Exercise can be fun if you do it with the rest of the family. If you haven’t worked out at all before, you can always start with a simple walking exercise that involves walking in place and throwing in some movements along the way. Jessica Smith TV (https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLe5P3ayTEj7bU0ljnuSbKkKqaAlPlrLIY) has plenty of workout instructional videos for beginners. You can move to more intense workouts once these begin to feel “too easy” for you. Fitness apps and YouTube are excellent sources for home workout videos and instructions.

Dust it all off

Get everyone in the habit of keeping the house clean. Maybe Kim can vacuum and mop the floor while Mum dusts every inch of the house. Dad and Benny can help lift or move some of the furniture so Mum can get all the nooks and crannies. Besides keeping the house squeaky clean, these activities also provide some sort of exercise, which is always good.

TV time

This one’s a classic family-time activity. Get everyone to gather in front of the TV and watch a show together or a movie, maybe. These days, the choices are just mind-blowing. There’s Astro, HyppTV, Netflix, YouTube – you name it! Don’t forget your popcorn!

Bring out the classics

Games, that is. Nothing beats a family fun time than a good old classic game. Board games like chess, Monopoly and Snakes & Ladder are such good fun! Malaysia has its own classics, namely congkak and batu seremban, to name a few. For something that engages the brain, why not try “win, lose or draw” or solve crossword puzzles together?

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Learn new skills

What better time to learn to do something you’ve always wanted to do but have absolutely no time for it. And it’s more fun if the whole family gets in on it. Perhaps you can learn to sing or play a musical instrument. Or maybe you’d like to learn how to paint or build a pond for your tortoises. Photography is another cool skill to learn. It’s really whatever strikes your fancy.

Make travel plans

Like everything else in life, this pandemic will eventually come to an end, later if not sooner. And when that happens, you can celebrate by going on a family trip. Use your free time at home to plan with your family on where you would like to go. Perhaps somewhere with sand and sea, or somewhere fresh and green?

Working from home

The MOVEMENT CONTROL ORDER states that all Government and private premises are to be closed form March 18 to 31, except for essential services. For those who absolutely need to get some work done, the best option is to bring work home. With the advent of technology, work can get done from home and submitted via email. The entire office can still communicate and convey messages via Whatsapp (https://www.whatsapp.com/), WeChat (https://www.wechat.com/en/), or Line (https://line.me/en/) group chats. Information is always at your fingertip, thanks to smartphones and tablets. And while you can’t attend meetings physically, you can always opt for video conferencing, through apps like Zoom (https://zoom.us/), ClickMeeting (https://clickmeeting.com/) or even Skype (https://www.skype.com/en/).

Maybe staying home within this crucial period can be hard, especially for those of you who are always out and about, but you can still have fun and be productive at home. Just remember that whatever it is you’re doing, be sure always to stay safe. Shower at least three times a day and sanitize whenever possible. Before you know it, everything’s back to the way they were.

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