Bonolo Mokua

Finding light in the dark

General , Being a father

If there is one thing our current electricity crisis has taught us, it’s how to problem solve. Perhaps you’re looking for ways to “go off grid”, install solar or getting get yourself a budget UPS to keep the internet on. However, there are also other, simpler (and more cost effective) things we can do, especially during the weekend, to make those four- to six-hour power cuts a little more bearable.

During the strict COVID-19 lockdowns, we were often more intentional about building connections and staying in touch with our friends and family. There were Zoom parties, endless video calls and scheduled online “dates” with our loved ones. So why not apply the same energy as we continue to face rolling blackouts? I mean, there are only so many naps you can take while you wait for the power to be restored.

Tips on how fathers can spend quality time with their kids during loadshedding

Nothing beats spending quality time together. With the current loadshedding stages, at any given time you could have about 12 hours with no power – how about carving out some of that time to spend one-on-one with your child? This could be reading a book together, playing a game, going for a walk, or simply chatting. Here are some tips for how to engage with your child:

Listen actively: When your child talks to you, make sure you're really listening. Show interest in what they're saying by asking questions and responding with empathy.

Show physical affection: If they enjoy being touched, hugs, kisses, and other forms of physical affection can help your child feel loved and secure.

Share your own experiences: Sharing your own stories and experiences can help your child feel closer to you and learn important life lessons. My dad is a great storyteller. Growing up our favourite thing to do when he’d force us to spend our holidays on the farm herding cows was to get him to tell us about the type of cattle breeds there are in South Africa. All our cows have names and a special story of how they came to our farm, and we loved hearing about them from him.

Respect your child's feelings: Make sure your child knows that their feelings are valid and that you're there to support them.

Engage in activities they enjoy: Participate in activities that your child enjoys, even if it's not your favourite thing to do. This shows that you're interested in their life and want to spend time with them. My dad doesn’t know how to swim, but because this is an activity that we enjoy, every second Saturday growing up he’d get one of his fishing buddies and their kids to join us and take us to a swimming/fishing “playdate”. This was a great way to not only connect us as kids, but also find a balance between doing things we all liked in a single outing.

Be present: When you're spending time with your child, put away any distractions like your phone or TV and focus on them.

Most importantly, be patient: Remember that building a strong connection with your child takes time and effort, so be patient and persistent in your efforts to connect with them.

These are simply guidelines on how to make time move a little faster as we deal with the current loadshedding schedule. Share with us on our social media platforms if you have any other tips you’ve tried to connect with your little friends.

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Bonolo Mokua

Bonolo is a multimedia journalist and content creator at Heartlines. She has experience in online and radio media production and helps spread the Heartlines message on multiple platforms.

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