Think of the Children!

5 minutes

There’s never a good time for a pandemic. I have read so many times over the last few weeks how unprecedented and unique this moment is, but it’s hard for that idea to take root in my brain because my life hasn’t been normal for a minute.

As a divorced dad with shared custody of my kids—ages six and nine, if that matters—all of this dropped right in the midst of Spring Break, which means they’ve been with their mom (an amazing and wonderful mother, which does matter) for the last three weeks. We’ve stayed in touch with video chats and brief visits, but I haven’t had that intense, one-on-one time with them so many parents have since the schools were closed and frankly . . . I’m nervous.

A semi-rare photo of the Elwell kids not fighting.

A semi-rare photo of the Elwell kids not fighting.

My kids are wonderful—don’t all parents feel that way?—but this is a whole new ballgame. No going to the park, where I may foist their attentions upon other children and enormous plastic play structures. No visits to Science Museum Oklahoma or the Oklahoma City Zoo or the Sam Noble Museum of History. No team sports—an ever-more necessary energy release for two children with a father who describes himself as an “avid indoorsman.”

I am worried about how to keep them happy and engaged but not fighting during a shelter-in-place order, how to manage working from home while making sure they do their online schoolwork, and—perhaps most of all—how to keep my temper in check.

It can be very difficult, especially in stressful times, to hold onto my calm. I try never to let my kids see my blood boil, but I fear that close confines and the boundless energy of youth might lead to some yelling. They’re as stuck as I am in this untenable situation the world has presented us with. They don’t need any additional unpleasantness from me.

So I’ve gathered a few local resources for myself that I thought you could use in Operation: Distraction.

OKC Zoo @ Two — The Oklahoma City Zoo is closed to visitors, but the residents are still hanging out with the staff and they’ve decided to make a live show for us to enjoy online. Every day at 2 p.m., keepers take questions from viewers, introduce us to the animals, and teach us a little something. Don’t worry if naptime interferes: Previous episodes are banked online for you to watch at your leisure.

Zoo School — The Tulsa Zoo is also closed, but at 10 a.m. every weekday, it holds Zoo School for kids on Facebook Live. Each Monday, they introduce a new topic and post activities on its website followed by a tour of an animal exhibit on Tuesdays, a storytime on Wednesdays, crafting on Thursdays, and a “Meet an Animal” Q&A live with an animal ambassador.

Uncovering Oklahoma — Dennis Spielman is a videographer with a penchant for travel. Since he’s a one-man crew, he’s helping arts organizations in Oklahoma City continue producing content. Visit his website for videos of previous events and travel stories to help scratch that travel itch. (Might be better for older kids.)

We’ll keep updating this one as we learn what other organizations across the state are doing. And if you have any tips and tricks, please send them to greg.elwell@travelok.com.

Written By
Greg Elwell

Web Editor Greg worked for newspapers, medical research organizations, and government institutions before he joined *Oklahoma Today*. He also is the publisher of the website I Ate Oklahoma.

Greg Elwell
Previous Blog

"Tuesday Trivia: March 24, 2020"

Next Blog

"Tuesday Trivia: March 31, 2020"

You May Like

Weekly Events Calendar August 3-9, 2020

Whether you want to move, watch, or listen, there's something for everyone in the Weekly Events Calendar.

Whether you want to move, watch, or listen, there's something for everyone in the Weekly Events Calendar.

By Haley Humphrey | 5 min read Read BLOG

Tuesday Trivia: August 4, 2020

Delve into Oklahoma's wild political history with our latest Tuesday Trivia question. Answer correctly and you might win a prize!

Delve into Oklahoma's wild political history with our latest Tuesday Trivia question. Answer correctly and you might win a prize!

By Greg Elwell | 1 min read Read BLOG

DIY Festivals

Festival fun has taken a hit this year, but there's nothing stopping you from putting on your own family fun festival at home. It might j...

Festival fun has taken a hit this year, but there's nothing stopping you from putting on your own family fun festival at home. It might just become a new tradition.

By Greg Elwell | Photos by Lori Duckworth | 7 min read Read BLOG