By Hasani Ali
I gave my two-year-old (Azi) his first haircut in the living room on a Wednesday night. It was one of the major things I had on my list to knock out while being stuck in this house. I had just bought new clippers along with groceries and other emergency supplies for the family. Not to mention that I had to cut my five-year-old’s (Asa) hair as well – who has autism.
I’ve cut his hair several times and he’s been to the barbershop before. Since the state of Michigan is on lockdown, that won’t be happening anytime soon, not to mention Detroit is one of the major cities that has been affected by the Corona Virus.
Autistic children are extremely SENSITIVE so he does not enjoy getting his haircut, like most children. Him and I went back and forth trying to keep him still. Wrestling, tussling and everything imaginable to cut his hair. About a third of it was cut and I gave him a break and I went to the bathroom. I came back and Azi got a hold of the clippers. Then I heard my oldest say, “Baba, in the chair!”
Then it hit me…
I let my sons take turns with my cutting my hair (I was going to cut it anyway). But in that moment, they became comfortable using the clippers and understanding what they were used for. Sometimes as adults, we impose things on children and expect them to go with it. The more hair they cut, the more focused they became.
I’m literally teaching them a new skill!
Now are they going to be able to do tapers and fades? No. However, they have conquered the fear of the clippers and the next round of haircuts will be a huge experiment. After I got done with haircuts their (done with ease), it gave me several ideas on how to engage the children while we are stuck in the house.
Back to the grocery store!
Here’s what I bought and how I was able to implement these activities with the children:
Styrofoam Planes: A simple arts and crafts project, but it engages with their cognitive skills and creativity.
Insanity For Kids: You know they have the energy, so why not burn them out?! A simple 30-minute workout gets the active and forces you to stay active too!
Produce and Plastic Utensils: From making their own sandwiches to fruit salads, getting them involved with the food they’re eating gets them curious about dietary choices.
Soil, Seeds & Plastic Containers: We’re prepping for our own garden! They will both be responsible for 3 containers in which they will plant, water and manage their veggies and herbs.
As an active father, I only have so many hours in a day to interactive with them after working all day. With me now working from home and the wife pregnant with our third child, it’s my time to really develop these young men into the productive adults they need to be.
I challenge all fathers to keep your kids engaged during this time. The economy isn’t certain, but your family is! Whether you have toddlers or teenagers, they need you—now more than ever. We’re witnessing something that most of us have never experience before and not sure where it’s heading. The joy of being a father is like being a coach, but from day one!
How will you invest into your children? What activities can you think of that will keep them engaged? All we have is time. Make it count!