COVID-19: What a way for filial bonding!

A positive spin-off from the lockdown is the opportunity for families to bond as they stay, pray and play together, writes KGOSI GASEBALWE SERETSE

It is clear that the Coronavirus pandemic has adversely affected the entertainment world, given the cancellation of major shows last week. As if that is not enough, government has banned gatherings of more than 10 people at a time, which simply means that places of entertainment are forced to shut down.

Nowadays, it is common to hear words like lockdown, isolation, social distancing and self-quarantine. This means that people have stopped interacting in ways that they always did. People have been advised to stay indoors and avoid outside contact as much as possible. This may seem like grim to lovers of entertainment but a positive spin is that families have the opportunity to bond more and save money in the process.

Men are the main culprits when it comes to leaving home to socialize at bars and pubs. Women love their baby showers and bridal showers, especially during weekends. But with the current lockdown in place, parents can spend time at home and bond with their children in various ways.

Board games
In the olden days before television and the Internet took over, board games such as chess, scrabble, monopoly and cards kept families entertained while bonding. Perhaps this is the time to reintroduce these games. Those in rural areas can play traditional games such as diketo, morabara and mmele, which are our indigenous versions of board games.

Reading books
This is the right time for families to take out books from their shelves and encourage a culture of reading. It is very unlikely that homes will be getting many visitors, so it is a good thing for families to take this time to cultivate the culture of reading during this period of isolation. School children should also be encouraged to read school books while parents and guardians help them with homeschooling at the same time.

Practising talent
If you have family members who are talented, this is the right time to encourage them to explore their talents. Painting, singing and drawing are some of the things that you can engage your family to do rather than allowing them to sit bored and miserable all day long.

Physical games
As Botswana is a football nation, you may engage in playing a game or two as a family to keep everybody fit and entertained. You could also play games like basketball in half courts and table tennis, if you have such facilities at home. For those in the outback, dibeke, koi and scotch can keep the family busy.

Video and CDs
It is also a good time to bring out those old videos and CDs that you haven’t seen or listened to in a long while. If possible, try to watch or listen together to accommodate your different tastes. Children will always remember their parents’ favourite music or videos when they are grown.

Praying together
Here in Botswana, many attend church to worship and fellowship. One can safely say that church is a place of ‘spiritual entertainment’ for believers. But with churches now closed, Christian families can take the time to pray and meditate together at home. There is no doubt that the devout find prayer comforting in difficult times.

Digital games
Parents can also play digital games with their children to keep them entertained. Although these games are sometimes notorious for taking over the lives of the young ones, if they do everything under the supervision of adults, this may help the family bonding.

Visiting masimo and moraka
The family could visit their cattle-post and farm fields to interact with the beauty of Nature. There they could take long walks, ride donkeys or horses and do light chores to de-stress and forget about the havoc of the coronavirus for a moment. Spending a weekend in isolation is a great idea.