This blog is usually written from a more impersonal point of view. The intent is to provide up-to-date information about family law; a term used to describe the area of law that handles divorce, custody, parenting time, alimony, prenuptial and post-divorce issues. However, it is Easter today and I, like most people in Oakland County, Michigan have been working remotely or are not working at all without much social or physical activity. So I thought I would share how my family has been coping with this weird reality.
My kids attend school at the Rochester Area Community Schools which has valiantly met with the challenges posed by this virus. It quickly transitioned and is continuing to provide quality education online as well as food and other assistance to the families here. It also keeps the kids occupied and doing something productive. When the kids are doing that, I have found a new love for cleaning, my condo has never shined so brightly. I strongly suggest that you keep your kids on the school schedule if your district has provided one, if not, there are several free websites available at the Rochester Area Community Schools website. Many of the sites are set-up so that the questions or problems may be very easy, but then depending on how well the child does and how long it takes to complete, it will adjust to the appropriate skill level over time.
Rochester schools suggested reaching out to someone. For instance, my mother is elderly and resides in an assisted living facility that is under strict quarantine rules. Despite my many attempts over the years, my mother has never been able to master the delicate art of mobile phone use. So the kids and I took pictures of ourselves with the dog, printed those up on our printer, wrote grandma a small note and walked with the dog to the post office to mail the pictures. My mom was very happy to receive the pictures. We also have been calling daily to say hello until we can see her in person.
For physical activity, on the nicer days it has been relatively easy; we take the dog for extended walks (dogs appear to be benefiting from the quarantine with more people home and far more consistent long walks in the park) or ride bikes. If you are considering getting a dog, now is the time; I adopted mine from a shelter a few years ago and he is the most lovable mutt I could want.
For the cold, ray or rainy days that we sometimes get in Southeast Michigan, we also came up with some inside activities, that did not involve screen time, although we are doing our fair share of that. My daughter and I managed to finish every episode of the office. Here are a few of our ideas.
Indoor field hockey; we have a few miniature souvenir hockey sticks, but one can be fashioned from a stick, some tin foil and duct tape, a plastic golf ball or super ball and couch cushions to form goals. Face off in the center, first to five wins with deuce rules (gotta win by two). It works best on carpet and that is why it is field hockey.
Galactic Home Mini-Golf: Choose a theme, we chose galactic because it was easy to make the basement look very spacey for the final hole and we happened to have a "Bouncy Ball Planet Maker" kit we picked up at the Child's Museum in Ann Arbor. We made the planet balls and when they dried we used those as our "golf balls", but any small super ball or plastic ball will work. We used a small plastic child's putter we had left over from when the kids were really little that we used as the putter. Then we set up holes throughout the house. Starting with the top of the stairs and putting a cup at the bottom of the stairs as the hole, we did this on each landing and used an overturned red plastic cup as the tee. On main floors we used stuffed animals, books, camping lanterns, lava lamps, etc., as obstacles and banks. We used throw rugs to create a small ramp up to the mugs we used as the holes on the main floor.
Paper airplane toss: Make paper airplanes and take two buckets or cleaned small garbage cans. Set up the buckets like horseshoe pits. Each player stands behind her or his own bucket and tries to toss as many planes into the other bucket as possible. It can be done by how many per a set time, how many out of a set number of planes, most dramatic flight, best engineered or whatever other quality silly or otherwise. This one can devolve pretty quickly into kids throwing planes at each other, but it could be worse.
Easter Egg Hunt: Happy Easter to those reading this that celebrate Easter!
Contact Our Michigan Divorce Mediator to Schedule a Remote Mediation
My office is open to schedule Zoom and Facetime mediations. I too am a divorced parent, so I'm getting accustomed to using Zoom with my kids for school and other forms of communicating in the day of social distancing. While the court is essentially in lock down, there are people here to help you get through this. If you have questions regarding any child support, custody or parenting time in Michigan, contact our Michigan Mediation Team. We are here to help you in these extremely difficult times.