How to stop your kids driving you made in lockdown – 6th to 10th April 2020

This 2020 Coronavirus lockdown is really tough for everyone, restricting us to our homes, limiting us to accessing nature in our gardens or during walks. For many people, we have a garden we can sit in and leafy roads we can walk along whilst taking our daily one hour allowance of freedom.

Mya-Rose Birdgirl Craig on a Lockdown Walk
Copyright Mya-Rose Craig
Mya-Rose Birdgirl Craig with Chris Packham on Colledge Green, Bristol
Copyright Mya-Rose Craig

However, for many people, life under lockdown is even more difficult. Now think about children living in deprivation in our inner cities, especially those who are Visible Minority Ethnic (VME).  Parents waiting for universal credit to come through so children living off ‘free school meal’ food hampers.

At home with a number of siblings in overcrowded homes, with no space for any kind of quiet contemplation or even just your own space. Parents without the skills to home school, no computers, no printers, no paper, no paint, no felt tips or crayons.  No garden, concreted drive at the front of the house, broken washing machines left on the pavements, only built up roads to walk along and now banned from entering parks. It is really important for everyone especially primary age children to get outside daily, to take in the air, watch the clouds,  to absorb nature – the trees, grass and flowers. As humans were are part of nature and have developed to live as part of it. It is really important for your physical and mental health to relax, calm and reduce anxiety & fears and that is exactly what connecting with nature helps us do. There are ways that you and your children can connect with nature, in any small green space, balcony or even out of the window.

Day six – 6th April 2020

For day six, I ate the first part of my dinner outside in the garden. I thought that if I had dinner outside on my own, I would feel rejuvenated and happier in myself.  That really did work. If you don’t have a garden or green space nearby, just go outside with water in a bottle and a couple of biscuits in your hand and eat them, remember how beautiful our world is and enjoy the taste with your surroundings.

Day Seven – 7th April 2020

For day seven, I thought it would be good to do a little gardening. So, fill a medium-sized old food container with compost or soil, plant seeds for veg you like and make sure you water regularly.  If you live in flats, put the container on your balcony or have something small for an inside window ledge.

As easy option is as follows:

My niece Laila holding an old fruit container
My niece Laila putting an absorbent material into the container, to cover the holes
My niece Laila using cardboard to put ordinary soil into the container
Laila using cloves in water to soak but try whole coriander soaked and split
Laila planting cloves (not sure if they will grow but that is part of the excitement)
Young Birder Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig

 

A child helping his grandfather in the garden

After the lockdown, if you or someone in your family have a garden, help out and involve your children and elder family members.  The elder family members may be particularly interested in gardening and many have allotments.  My Nanu (gran) has always grown vegetables and herbs.  She used to supply the family restaurant with coriander in the ’70s and ’80s.  Now she is disabled but still pays someone to do the gardening for her, coming out in her wheelchair to watch it all grow.

 

Child in her grandparents’ garden

 

Day Eight – 8th April 2020
For day eight, go outside into your garden, the nearest place you can sit outside or a local park. Then sit quietly and practice mindfulness (focusing with all your senses on what is around you), meditate, use worry beads or if you have faith, maybe some prayer or rosary beads.  As it’s the month of Ramadan, I prayed using prayer beads (called tasbih). Send me photos of you and I’d love to add them to this blog post.

 

Day Nine – 9th April 2020
For day nine, I took photos of my niece Laila enjoying and feeling the rain. At first, she complained (I know I’m a mean aunt, but then she liked the rebellion of it all). My Mum told me about visiting Bangladesh for the first time over the summer of 1977 when she had her 8th birthday. I have been there quite a few times but never in the heat of the summer. She also said that it was really hot and humid and that many relatives didn’t have electricity so no fans. Lots of houses had corrugated roofs, patched up after the civil war. It was unbearably hot, especially as she had never left the UK before. It was the monsoon season and so in between the days of sweltering heat, there would be sudden thunderstorms, when the warm rain was so heavy the roads would get flooded immediately. As soon as the rain started, all the children, rich and poor would run outside to feel the rain and enjoy the coolness as it soaked them through. So part of today suggestion is for parents to tell that story and connect my generation with those who live back “home”.

Summer rain
My niece in the summer downpour

 

Day Ten – 10th April 2020

For day ten, find some kind of container, place it in a green or outdoor space (any small green area or balcony) somewhere birds can use it for water.  If you are lucky you might get a blackbird or robin taking a bath in it. Refill the container in dry spells like now or over the summer.

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