So if you are like me, due to covid-19, your child is home from school and/or any type of childcare you had in place . . . . and so are you. And if you are working from home that adds a whole new element of frustration as you try to meet deadlines, tackle conference calls with kids interrupting (and likely crying, screaming too) with demands and more. UGH.
So while your littles are requesting on-demand snacks and entertainment in between looking bored or fighting with one another to epic proportions, you are desperate for some sort of calm, right?
Resources for the Kiddies
Netflix seems like the go to for many people but while your kids are out of school it is a great time to do a little reading each day. Here are some resources we are hearing about that will have your kids enthralled and their teachers doing a happy dance at the same time:
Audible. The audiobook giant (parent company is Amazon) has set up a free audiobook site for kids. https://stories.audible.com/
Scribd. They provide audiobooks, books, magazines, and even sheet music. Sign up for a free 30 day trial and send it to other friends and they get a 60 day free trial. www.scribd.com
RBDigital.com Have kids that are too young to read or are not voraciously sucking down hard and soft cover books? Again, more audiobooks for everyone of every age and every genre. Make sure to download the app.
Take in a Museum – Virtually. Check it out – cool museums in one place, followed by a link to virtual tours of national parks – https://www.travelandleisure.com/attractions/museums-galleries/museums-with-virtual-tours
A Real Gem from Italy. Check out this article that speaks from those who are on lockdown in Italy right now: https://www.thelocal.it/20200318/ten-top-tips-for-keeping-kids-entertained
Some of our own tips:
Keep a Schedule. No not hour by hour or minute by minute. But make sure the kids know you are working. Add in some specific times for breaks like you would at work to visit the restroom, get a drink but instead add in another item to check on the kids, play a quick game, etc. Make sure that your lunch break is fully devoted to your kids. Same with dinner.
Make Your Work Space . . . Yours. While you are likely to dress casually at home, the kids should be able to tell you are working with specific pre-planning. Some creative ideas: 1) Carve out your work space and put a sign on it saying something like “Deb Discenza, CEO: At Work!” like a nameplate someone would have on their desk. Have the kids do the same for their rooms so you respect each other’s “work spaces.” Make sure the workspace you are in allows you space to do your work. Having the kids working on their school work at the same place you are is distracting. Consider everyone has their own section of a room if it is impossible to boot the kids out. 😉 Then throw that name plate at your spot. Even if you are working at the kitchen table you will break down your workplace when not working.
Consider a change in work shift. Consider getting up early and using what your normal time would be for getting ready for work and commuting to getting a little extra work done so you can take a break to hang out with the kids during their breakfast time.
Give the Kids Work to Do. No they are not going to join you for a conference call or take notes – that would be a disaster. Instead, give them assigned chores to do throughout each day. These need to be age appropriate and you need to pull back on your idea of perfection, okay?
Chore ideas could include (with supervision as needed):
- Going through toys and piling them up to either throw away or donate to a good cause.
- Making their own beds each morning.
- Putting their books and toys away each evening before dinner.
- Taking their folded laundry from the laundry room and putting it away in their rooms.
- Collecting trash from around the house.
- Taking the dog for a walk (if allowed).
- Feeding the cat/dog.
- Playing with the cat/dog.
- Making signs for the front door to remind visitors to wash their hands.
- Making signs for the front door to remind visitors of the symptoms of the coronavirus.
- Making a play about ways to protect themselves during the pandemic.
- Create signs around the house of ways to stop the spread of the virus.
- Help wipe down different surfaces around the house to keep germs at bay.
Fighting Fear as the Biggest Enemy
Your children are likely to act out when self-quarantined. Even if you think they are not aware of what’s happening, they are aware of your heightened stress and of the change of tone in your voice. Some tips:
Keep TV only to Non-News Channels. Only check news on your personal devices. And even then, only have it on for a period of time.
Set Up Special Moments for Off Time. If you are done with work, have some fun. Play a video game for a bit, have a pillow fight or play a game of hide and go seek. Pulling away from news is the first step, the second is getting that nervous energy out in a healthy manner.
Talking Out Fear. Prior to bedtime, ask your children what is on their mind. Let them talk without interruption and then when they are done, remind them that your job is to keep them safe. Staying in the house is part of the safety plan.
Writing Up a Plan Together Fights Fear. Create a “Plan Document” that you all decide together how to protect yourselves. Once it is put together, have the kids, make drawings to go with it and put this on the refrigerator.
In the end, it is all about keeping a peaceful and calm household as we try to stay healthy and not deal with too much cabin fever. Have some other ideas? We’d love to hear them in the comments section.