By Marnita Coleman
Special to AFRO

About a month ago, I was monitoring the coronavirus outbreak aboard the Grand Princess Cruise Ship docked on the coast of California. It was alarming but somehow appeared distant.  Still, I stocked up on groceries, water and sanitizing agents.  

What a difference a day makes, just 24 little hours. The very next day, our world turned upside down. Governor Larry Hogan was on every local station declaring a state of emergency and implementing coronavirus preparedness legislation. Expectedly, these executive orders caused fear to sweep across the State because the dreaded virus, that seemed distant, had spread to Maryland. Then, when schools were closed and citizens were asked to self-quarantine, pandemonium broke out. Families were thrust into an unfamiliar mode for an indefinite amount of time. There have been emergency situations before, but this was different, the whole world was shutting down because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Use this downtime to become reacquainted with your loved ones. (AFRO Archive)

While heads of the state grapple with how to deal with this virus, families are behind closed doors coping with their lives, keeping safe and adjusting to a new normal. 

What’s interesting is after the second week of self-quarantine, some parents wanted separation from their children. A popular radio show host was on air ranting that his kids were driving him bananas and asked the audience for solutions. As amusing as he was, the unfunny truth is that parents typically spend only two hours each day with children six years old and younger and one hour per day with children ages six to 12. We can surmise that teens only get a fraction of their parents’ precious time. So, it’s no wonder the radio-show host was discombobulated, he’s quarantined with strangers, even though they are his kids.

If his experience is challenging, what do you think his children are going through? They have little to no clue what a pandemic is, let alone, fully understanding what “self-quarantine” or “social distancing” means. They are happy to be out of school but don’t want to be stuck in the house. The past few weeks must feel like years to them.  

Instead of complaining about what your rambunctious children are doing, why not get creative and take advantage of this moment to become reacquainted with your loved ones. Call a family meeting, arm yourself with COVID-19 pandemic information to share at a level that your kids can digest it. Emphasize your togetherness and the love you each have for one another. Decide on some fun family activities that will keep the family harmonious through these changing times.

Here are some suggestions: read the great stories in the bible and keep your hearts trusting in God, play board games, FaceTime family and friends, tweet your favorite celebrities, bake a cake from scratch, watch a documentary or movie, play Family Feud online, research fun facts and coordinate a Zoom Trivia night with other families. You have unlimited options.

Keep in mind that this, too, shall pass. But for now, make the most of it by enjoying your family and staying safe.  

Marnita Coleman is an author and host of The Marnita Show, a parenting show heard daily across the globe. For more parenting, log onto