I think we might be taking this more seriously than some. I don’t know. But I know that I personally did not leave my house and interact directly with another human for any reason for over a month. Then Mom offered to hand off some frozen meat (they raise cattle and have 1 or 2 butchered for themselves and always graciously share…) in a parking lot, so I went, and we socially distanced, and…
Now, it’s like the floodgates have opened. I had a doctor’s appointment. We got pizza delivered tonight. Schwan’s, Imperfect Foods, Amazon, Wal-Mart have all delivered… I’ve ordered from Holo Taco and Sizzix and Spellbinders and Scrapbook Generation…
I’m realizing we really will need things from a store soon, and that things haven’t really changed, so we need a plan. Plus I need to make us masks. How are you feeling? How are you doing? What are you doing?
Who am I kidding? I was only motivated by fear and adrenaline in the first place! But now my allergies have hit, and I forgot my antidepressant yesterday and I’m even *more* scared, so now all I really want to do is SLEEP. I want to curl up under my covers, do nothing but eat all the food I have set aside for the upcoming month, and hide. From the world. From obligations. From news. From people. Including my family!
So I somehow managed to drag myself up and out of bed and into a shower, and that helped. I put real clothes on. Didn’t do my hair beyond a ponytail, or makeup, but did brew myself a BIG cup of coffee. And nuked some oatmeal for breakfast, and set the kids to start their school day with 20 minutes silent reading (which frequently stretches to 30 and has been a WONDERFUL way to ease into our day).
So…I don’t know. I guess the moral to my story is–take your meds, drink your coffee, start your day with a shower–and if you have kids, assign some silent reading to start the day. ;). The first step is the hardest. Hopefully the rest of the day will be easier. <3
I really love centers. Do you remember those? You may have done them in kindergarten, or your children do them at daycare now. I love them because they allow for open-ended play, but with as much or as little guidance as you’d like, and help ensure children get to explore all the fun gadgets, gizmos, and goodies you’ve accumulated along your parenting journey. It provides them with variety, makes old things seem new again, and can buy you a good hour or so to get stuff done yourself.
Essentially, I set out 3 activity/toy sets that the kids can play with independently. These will change with your children’s ages. It can be on a theme, or not; you can give specific instructions for each or not… I decide if it’s just a free for all with all their items, or if they should rotate through (e.g., like 15 minutes at each, with a 15 minute free for all at the end). Then I turn them loose!
Some centers I have used:
Playdough (if you don’t have any, you can make your own! And if you don’t have playdough tools, try using small, safe kitchen utensils, letter magnets, buttons, and pipecleaners)
Dress-Up (if you don’t have children’s dress-up costumes, just set out some of your fancy or interesting shoes, scarves, hats, and costume jewelry)
Musical instruments (if you don’t have any, try making some)
Art station (painting with watercolors is pretty mess free, coloring with coloring books, copy paper and stencils, etc.)
Stuffed animal zoo
For more ideas, google your children’s age range and terms like DIY, homemade, homeschooling, or centers. Also check out some of my Pinterest boards to see if they spark anything for you:
As I mentioned in my last post, a structured routine of some sort will help everyone cope with our current social isolation. I have developed our own schedule, taking some inspiration from the schedule I shared earlier. It’s nice and general, but gives us hourly activities to keep us moving in a productive way. It includes time for schoolwork, life skills, socializing, and outside. I will be working from home during this time, too, and I hope this gives us all the structure we need with a nice dose of flexibility on the side. This schedule is for weekdays only, FYI.
8 a.m. Up, breakfast as a family, morning routine
9 a.m. Schoolwork–no screens for kids
10 a.m. Snack, outside or basement playtime (we have a large unfinished basement they like to ride their bikes, scooters, skateboards, etc. around), GoNoodle or workouts
11 a.m. Home project (Lots of possibilities here! Cleaning, yardwork, organizing, decluttering, cooking, laundry, other life skills or chores, etc.)
12 p.m.Lunch as a family
12:30 p.m. Quiet time (where we each go do our own, solo, thing)
1:30 p.m. Snack, schoolwork–educational screens ok at this time
2:30 p.m.Arts & crafts/music/science experiments
3 p.m. Outside or basement playtime, GoNoodle or workouts
4 p.m. Social time—video call someone (or more) from our list (we made a list of friends and family to keep in touch with, including people we know to be more vulnerable to this isolation); then free time
5 p.m. Make dinner (kids take turns helping, parents take turns leading), eat dinner as a family
6 p.m. Clean up dinner (kids take turns helping), kids take baths
7 p.m. Free time
8 p.m. Bedtime snack, book, yoga
9:00 p.m. Bed–if no arguing/fighting/disrespectfulness that day
Structure, routine, predictability–children thrive on it! (…and adults, really–why do you think change is so hard?) A lot of parents are facing unending days of family togetherness in the near future, and may need some tips on how to cope–especially those parents who do not work with children full time.
Just remind yourself that they will need structure. 2-3 days of unlimited screens may work at first, but then everything has the potential to descend into a Lord of the Flies-esque scenario, and no one wants that. Also–remind yourself that structure doesn’t have to be complicated (e.g., my crazy summer schedule that I still love but that was never followed to a tee).
There is a graphic floating around with a suggested daytime schedule for children, and I really like it. It is general and open-ended, with screen time and no-screen time built in. You can find it here. And you know what, some people say it is too regimented! So, take it for what it’s worth–come up with your own thing–something sustainable and yet still predictable. Write it down, post it, the kids will love checking the schedule for what’s next and keeping everyone on track. I’ll share some more ideas for coping with kids at home in future posts. <3