Coronavirus Lockdown: Yoga Together with My Daughter

It’s going on the fourth week since my six year old has been physically in her classroom since the Coronavirus lockdown, and I’ve been trying my best to give her sense of normalcy with a daily schedule that mimics what she would be doing in school. While I could have just focused on reading, writing and math, I decided that it is equally important to focus on the special subjects like, art, music, science and gym. So each day, we’ve been doing a fun activity. I decided to share my experience in hopes that it may give parents an idea to try with their child or children.

Last week, for gym, Quinn and I did yoga together. While I’m sure there may be some videos on YouTube geared towards children, I have a DVD on Yoga for kids, and it was perfect and challenged us both. “I can’t wait for the tree pose and the warrior pose,” Quinn said. As we looked at each other and smiled, sometimes teetering a little in the different poses, I thought to myself, what a wonderful bonding experience. After we finished the series of poses, she asked if we could do yoga again for “gym” because it’s relaxing and fun. “Of course,” I said.

Even though we’re both adjusting to the new norm, which will require more adjusting again when the college courses I teach resume all online tomorrow, I’m grateful for the extra time and activities we’re getting to do together.

All the best,

Tanya

 

 

Dancing Is Not Cancelled! Thanks to Debbie Allen Dance Academy!

81178884-6b8a-4572-9c16-b60a92780360My daughter excitedly asked, “When does dance class start again, Mommy?” She was ready in her comfortable workout attire eating for it to get underway. Yesterday, we got the chance of a lifetime to dance with choreographers from Debbie Allen Dance Academy live through Instagram. At first, Quinn was doing it by herself because it was advertised for three to seven year olds, but the dance instructor said, “Mommy’s and daddy’s join in too!” As I was watching from afar in the kitchen, “Quinn yelled out, “You can do it too, Mommy! Let’s dance together!”

Though I had on jeans, not the most comfortable for dancing, I quickly raced into the living room where I had the Instagram live feed mirrored to my TV. In knowing this was a once in a lifetime opportunity, I decided to record us dancing together. We moved, wiggled, giggled and even breathed heavily at times as we tried to keep up with the dance moves of the choreographer. Afterwards, my six year old said, “I think Kenzie (her thirteen year old cousin) could have done that dance too!”

We both struggled a bit trying to keep up with the fast paced African dance routine, but it really was so much fun. Plus it was great exercise too. Yes, now has been quite a trying time. There’s so many limitations on what we can do, so I’m so glad that Debbie Allen and her dance studio put together such a wonderful online event with thousands and thousands of people tuning in together. In times like this that we must remember the Zimbabwe African Proverb If you can walk, you can dance. If you can talk, you can sing. My daughter keeps me moving which in turns keeps my spirits up!

All the best,

Tanya

This Mommy’s Treading Lightly: Carefully Addressing the Seriousness of the Coronavirus with My Little Girl

Getting some fresh air

This past week has been a roller coaster ride. My first grader‘s school has been closed since March 10th and might reopen on March 30th, fingers crossed. While dealing with the “new norm,” as a result of the Coronavirus, involving her schooling, my job and the many business closures in my area, I’m a bit conflicted with if I‘m providing my six year old with the necessary information, tools and support as we embark on uncharted territory.

I explained to her that some people are very ill, and her school wants to make sure she and her classmates are safe, so this is why there’s no school. Like any normal kid, she was initially happy about having time off, but she did say that she misses her friends and teacher.

Though I’ve been making an effort to practice “social distancing,” I haven’t really explained that to Quinn. The park is usually empty when we’ve gone to get some fresh air, but a few days ago, we did see one of her classmates who she immediately wanted to hug. I didn’t know how to address it or if I should have stopped her from hugging her friend.

I gave her a wipe as we were leaving the park, as I have been doing for years. When we got home, I just told her to wash her hands for snack, as we normally do when coming from the park.

Yesterday, Quinn asked to go to the park to film some of her video for her YouTube channel, Quinnie’s Fun House, about ten things to do when you’re bored. So before going to the park , I did explain to her that more people are getting ill and that we want to keep her healthy. I informed her that I’d be spraying the swing with disinfectant to get rid of germs and that she’d use a wipe as she always does upon leaving the park. Quinn was okay with this and even reminded me about the wipe and not wanting germs from other people.

While I’m glad she’s taking it all in stride, I am concerned about making her scared or leery of interacting with people for fear of becoming very ill. Also, I know how important interactions with children her age are for her, especially since she’s an only child. I’m trying my best to tread lightly and be a sensitive yet strong mom for her.

I wonder, how are other people coping with explaining all of what’s going on to their young children? Any advice!?

All the best,

Tanya

It Might Seem Like All Fun & Games, But Kids Are More “Clued” in Than We Think!

“It was Scarlet with the lead pipe in the garage,” my daughter asserted. We both love playing games. I especially enjoy how it not only gives us quality time together but improves not just her critical thinking but mine too.

Clue was one of my favorite games to play with my sister when I was younger. While I was eager to introduce it to Quinn, I was a bit apprehensive because of the premise of the game: find out who committed the murder, with what and where? According to the box, it’s for ages eight and up, but after giving it some thought and discussing it with my six year old, we determined that she could handle it without the game being too much for her. Boy, was I right!

Though there were newly added rooms, and I had to relearn some of the basic rules, it took Quinn no time to catch on to the concept of Clue. She strategically went to the different rooms to cross off what places the murder didn’t happen, and paid close attention as her dad and I did the same so that she could rule out suspects.

As I determined what cards were in the clue envelope and eagerly awaited my turn, Quinn solved the crime! I was always amazed at how “clued” in she was. A part of me was pleasantly surprised, but then again, she’s always been good at critical thinking. Some people think children are too young to understand certain concepts or lack basic critical thinking skills, but oftentimes it is us adults who are clueless for doubting or underestimating the abilities of children. Time and time again, Quinn reminds me of how adults can learn so many lessons from children.

All the best,

Tanya

Having a Great Time Bonding at Quinnie’s Fun House!

A little over a month ago, I decided to fulfill my six year old’s request to help her start a YouTube page: Quinnie’s Fun House. While I was certain that it would be involved and a fun experience, I find myself wondering why I didn’t help her start this page when she asked a couple of years ago.

With 14 posts ranging from topics on dolls and accessories, kid spa sets, adventures on the go and Adventure Academy, we’ve bonded over ideas and discussed the importance of confidence. It also allows for many teachable moments where I remind my daughter that it’s okay to make mistakes, and it may take practice to get the video to be just how she wants it. I let her know that I’m so proud of her for simply trying her best.

Though we’re still in the early stages, we’ve found ways to incorporate the videos into her everyday activities without them becoming intrusive or feeling like work. Quinn even said, “Some things can be for Youtube, and others can be special just for us!” I love the way she thinks and let her take the lead.

It makes me feel so good to help her by filming and editing the videos and posted about them for family and friends on her page, quinniesfunhouse.com and mine because they’re not just for YouTube but for us. I’m already envisioning looking back on her videos when she’s ten or even sixteen with a smile on my face wondering where the time went.

All the best,

Tanya

Celebrating School: My Daughter’s 100 Days Smarter!

“Guess what, Mommy! Mrs. Moore said that we’re all 100 days smarter,” my first grader told me upon getting home from celebrating the 100th day of school. I have a sharp memory, and I do not recall ever celebrating the 100th day of school, just maybe the last day when everyone was eager to start summer break. While some parents may think the projects and hoopla is overboard, as a professor and parent, I think it’s awesome!

There’s so many goals students must complete and achieve. For some, it may be a cinch, while for others it may be overwhelming or extremely difficult. Either way, showing up and trying one’s best must be acknowledged too. It helps keep up morale and motivation. It also allows both parents and teachers to reflect on how far their students have come without it necessarily being about a grade or milestone that must be achieved.

Within that 100 days, Quinn hasn’t only gotten smarter intellectually but socially and emotionally. She’s gotten a little taller, developed new interests and even decided that she might want to be a teacher as her profession instead of a dancer. Indeed, I do anticipate more changes to come in the next 100 days, but I’m glad we both had an opportunity to rejoice in the time that’s passed thus far: she with her teacher and friends, and me as her proud mother.

All the best,

Tanya

Lessons in Bravery from Two Six Year Olds: Ruby Bridges and My Daughter

On Friday, my daughter’s teacher posted pictures on Class Dojo about what the class is doing in preparation for Black History Month. My eye was immediately drawn to the picture of my six year old and a few of her classmates holding up their papers with the title: I am brave like Ruby Bridges. (Their faces have smiley faces since I did not time to ask permission to post the picture)

What really struck a chord with me is that my daughter, while she’s brave in many ways, doesn’t have the same struggle as Ruby Bridges did as the first African American to integrate an elementary school in the south. According to womenshistory.org, “She walked past crowds screaming vicious slurs at her.” The article goes on to say, “Ruby ate lunch alone and sometimes played with her teacher at recess, but she never missed a day of school that year.” I couldn’t imagine my sweet girl or any child having to endure that level of hatred just based in the color of their skin.

Though times have changed and people’s thoughts have evolved in positive ways, I know racism and discrimination does still exist 60 years later. However, I’m so grateful that my little girl attends a diverse school where she interacts and plays with children of different races, ethnicities, religions, you name it and considers all of her classmates to be her friends.

Sometimes, I’m hesitant to share certain details about our history as African Americans with my daughter because of the tragedies and injustices we’ve endured. So it’s wonderful that she has a teacher who was thoughtful and brave enough to share the story of Ruby Bridges, a child who was just like Quinn and her classmates: six years old, eager to learn and excited about school. 

Let’s all continue to acknowledge the past and how far we’ve all come so that we all may have a positive future, especially  for our children.

All the best,

Tanya