Family Role Exchange: A Fun Game to Play During Quarantine
Quarantine and social distancing continue to be important as we wage ware against the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. As we continue to spend time at home with our families, we need to find new ways to be productive and have fun. With that in mind, we want to suggest a creative activity: A role exchange.
A role exchange involves each family member switching responsibilities and activities with someone else in the family. This game isn’t only fun and original, it’s also educational. It helps everyone, young and old, to get to know more about the daily routines of their family members and grow in empathy.
Roles within the family
When we talk about roles, we’re referring to the function that a person carries out in a given place or situation. So, when talking about the context of a family, we’re talking about the activities and responsibilities that each member carries out. And these roles and functions are what define the structure of each family in particular.
Traditionally, a normal family structure is one with clearly defined conjugal and parental roles. Most of the time, these roles have always had a great deal to do with gender.
However, with the evolution of society and family life, the roles that each family member plays at home are starting to change. This opens the door to the possibility of other family structures without these being harmful (socially or psychologically) to the family as a whole, or to any member in particular.
Therefore, every family is its own small world. With that in mind, it’s important for each family to function around its own needs. And that means abandoning social and cultural factors that define and assign roles and responsibilities, for the most part, according to gender.
This way, each family can find its own balance, stability, and the emotional wellbeing of all of its members.
Why is a role exchange beneficial for your family?
Exchanging roles and allowing each member to put themselves in someone else’s shoes can be a very entertaining activity. But, at the same time, a role exchange is an interesting educational strategy. This is because it gives your family the opportunity to discover the functions, obligations, and responsibilities that other members fulfill each day.
At the same time, it’s a way of recognizing that, in general, many families continue to divide their roles according to each member’s gender.
Therefore, we can take advantage of the time we have left in quarantine to carry out a family role exchange. More specifically, we can switch around the domestic tasks and responsibilities that each family members normally carry out. That way, each member of the family can try to take on the tasks that someone else in the family usually performs.
So, according to the members that make up your family and their ages, you can suggest one or two exchanges. The idea is for each of you to put yourself in someone else’s shoes. That way, you’ll all become aware of the heavier or lighter burden that each person has to carry around the house on a day-to-day basis.
A family role exchange: Some examples
If there are adolescents in your family, then it’s a good idea to have them switch roles with their parents. So, they can take over the tasks that one parent usually performs around the house on a daily basis. Then, on another occasion, they can take over the responsibilities of the other parent.
Of course, the role exchange can’t involve tasks that have to do with their parents’ jobs or professions. However, as we’ve said, they can take over domestic tasks. For example, making beds, washing clothes, preparing meals, washing dishes, cleaning the bathroom, vacuuming, and mopping, etc.
What’s more, if they have younger siblings, then they can help out with their care and give them a hand with their homework. And if you have any pets in your home, then your teens can make sure they have food and water. If you have a cat, your kids can clean the litter box. If you have a dog, your kids can take them for a walk.
Another way to switch things up and have fun during quarantine is for parents themselves to exchange roles. That way, each partner should spend a day taking care of the other partner’s household tasks. This can involve everything from cooking meals to helping their kids with their homework. You can also include things like cleaning the bathroom, ironing, cutting the grass, and doing the grocery shopping.
Lastly, the children in your family can also exchange roles. If your children already have established chores and responsibilities, then they can exchange those jobs for a day – things like setting the table, putting away clean clothes, or whatever other tasks your children are usually in charge of.