By THÉRÈSE MARGOLIS
Okay, so we are all (hopefully) safely stationed inside our homes with a month’s supply of tasty (and healthy) eats and other basic necessities.
But even if you have a big family with whom to interact (or, maybe, especially if you have a big family with whom to fight), during this indefinite period of home repose and WFH (work from home) policies, avoiding climbing the walls and going stir crazy from being locked in can be daunting.
Here, then, are a few ideas of how to wait out the Covid-19 virus contagion without irreparably damaging your relationship with your spouse or looking your kids in their rooms for a 48-hour time out.
Thank God for Netflix
Ah, yes, the television set is the great equalizer, or at least a means of calming spats and uniting family members with a big bowl of popcorn for a couple hours a day.
There are a lot of good films to catch up on (Steven Soderbergh’s “Contagion” is probably not the most recommendable for frazzled nerves) and this is a great time to binge watch light comedy shows such as “Mom” and “Young Sheldon.”
You could also opt for a “Star Wars” marathon (available on Amazon Prime for a special package price), and musicals are always an upbeat energizer.
Arts and Crafts, Redux
If your kids are itching for something to do (besides that boring math homework they were assigned over the internet by their teachers), try good old-fashioned arts and crafts.
Bring out the macaroni and food coloring and make string necklaces, or glitter up some shoe boxes to keep their at-home school supplies in.
If you can still remember what your Great Aunt Rosemary tried to teach you way back when, try (or retry) you hand at knitting or crocheting. Both can be very calming during times of stress, and you may just end up with a new sweater in the process.
Camping Out Inside
Throw a few sheets and blankets over some card tables in the living room, add a few pillows and sleeping bags, and. presto, you have an indoor campout.
Toasted marshmallows and s’mores are not advisable, but who says you can’t turn out the lights and tell ghost stories?
Make Dinner a Special Occasion
Designate one night a week as “Dress for Dinner Night.”
Since Stay at Home tends to mean honing a wardrobe of sweatpants and tennis shoes, choose at least one night when everyone dresses up for a family date night.
You can also invite the whole family to participate in a dress-up costume party, improvising from whatever they have in their closets.
Try choosing a theme such as Gatsby night or Gone With the Wind dress up.
You can break out the caviar or stuffed ravioli, depending on your and your family’s particular tastes, but make sure the menu is something special to merit the extra effort taken by the attendees.
And if you really want to get fancy, why not try an afternoon tea with all the trimmings: finger sandwiches and pastries, all served on your best china.
The Family that Cooks Together…
You can also make dinner a special occasion by having a family cook night, with everyone assigned a particular duty in preparing the meal.
And, of course, after the cook-in, you can all sit down and savor the results.
Jigsaw Puzzle Workout
This is a perfect time to dig out that 3,000-piece jigsaw puzzle that someone gave your family two Christmases ago and you immediately shoved in the back closet, never to be seen again (until now).
Now only do jigsaw puzzles bring the family together at a table to work on a common goal, but they are a great alternative to sending little Johnny to his room for a time out after he has pulled his sister’s hair for the 12th time today.
Added bonus: Studies have shown that doing jigsaw puzzles helps build people’s problem-solving skills.
All that excessive hand-washing and endless applications of hand sanitizers (which you should keep up during the Covid-19 pandemic) can definitely lead to hangnails and chapped skin.
Why not have a family manicure party (okay, Junior may not be into this, but your eight-year-old daughter certainly will) in which everyone pushes back their cuticles, trims and files their nails and slather on the hand cream?
You will be instilling good hygiene practices at the same time.
And those who want to can take turn painting each other’s nails with nail polish.
(Tip: This is a good thing to do the day before the dress-up dinner so that everyone feels super elegant at the meal).
Turn your bathroom into a spa with a few strategically placed aromatic candles and a delicious soak in the bathtub with oils and bath gels.
(If you don’t have any at hand, try using a cup of bicarbonate of soda and a few drops of your favorite perfume.)
Close the door, turn on some soft music, cover your eyes with some chamomile teabags and relax. (No cell phones allowed.)
Home Talent Show
Invite every member of the family to create an act for a family talent show in the den or living room.
If you have a karaoke machine, this will help, but if not, just improvise and let the show go on.
If you and your family are tired of playing nonstop charades and Monopoly marathons, try organizing an inhouse scavenger hunt.
Make a list of items that are somewhere in the house and divide into teams.
The team that finds the most items on the list in the shortest time is the winner.