March 24, 2020 - 8:00am -- lehman.488@osu.edu

I think it’s safe to say, the last couple of weeks have been challenging on every level.  One day we will look back on these events and say we were part of living a historical event.  Up to this point, most of us have been reacting to the things going on around us.  As we begin to adjust to our “new normal” way of doing things, we are ready to be proactive and take control over the things we can.

We can set a routine within our homes.  This can include time to get up, have meals, chore time (inside and outside), homework time, game time, etc. 

We can set meal preparation and a time to eat together without distractions.

We can choose to look at the opportunities that this situation has given us, instead of the challenges

Unknown factors are a part of life and while this one had large ranging effects on many families across the world, our leadership is doing the best they can to have a plan in place.   

So the question for today is, what is your personal plan B?  It’s not too late to put some things in place, so following are a few tips to get you started:

  • Start with an emergency fund.  This may look different for families depending on your needs, but the guideline is to have at least 3-6 months of your expenses set aside. Being that we are in the midst of the challenge, examine your spending habits carefully and purchase only needed items. Can you set 10% for emergencies in your current budget? Having cash set aside at home for emergencies and accessible for quick use might be something to consider in the future.  Debit cards have made this much easier, but what happens if you can’t get to the bank, or make withdrawals?  
  • Have enough food and water at home for at least a week.  Stock up on canned goods, freezer items, and pantry items to utilize when going to the store isn’t feasible.  Plan your meals and grocery lists so that getting in and out of the store is time efficient. Cook in quantity so that extras can be lunch the following day or incorporated into a soup.
  • An emergency kit to have at home is a good idea to have at all times.  New batteries, flashlights or candles, food that doesn’t require heat for preparation, and water.  Don’t forget to include medicines, and if you have pets, be sure to include provisions for them as well.
  • If you had to leave your home quickly, do you have all the important papers in one place that you can grab and go?  Consider putting those documents that are difficult to replace in a file or notebook that could easily go with you.  What would you miss from your files if they no longer existed, and if you couldn’t communicate, who in your family is trusted with this information? During our extended home time would be a good time to work on a plan like this.
  • Have you considered a family communication plan?  Where might everyone meet if there’s no cell phone service?  How can you let everyone know you are ok?  Once this is decided upon, it’s not a bad idea to practice with a “test” a couple of times a year.  If most of your family is in one central location (within the county), can you pick someone farther away to be your meeting place?

 

As we face the challenges of today, I encourage us to look at the opportunities it has given us.  Pull out the puzzles, board games, and old movies or pictures.  Spend time talking, laughing, and enjoying one another.  Pick up the phone and reach out to friends and neighbors who may not have family close by to check on them.  Write a letter, have children draw pictures, and send to grandparents and other family.  Read a book, or suggest a book to others then talk about it.  We still have hours in the day to enjoy and invest.  May we all make the most of this opportunity.

 

Melinda Hill is an OSU Extension Family & Consumer Sciences Educator and may be reached at 330-264-8722.

 

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