By now, much of the world is under some form of a quarantine. Many schools and offices have ceased regular operations and have sent their students and employees home in order to stop the spread of the covid-19 virus.
So, unless you are a frontliner at the hospitals (thank you for your service!!!!!), the best thing you or any of us can do right now is to stay at home.
That being said, I imagine that some parents are probably racking their brains to come up with ways to keep their kids occupied (i.e., bathed, fed, AND out of trouble) throughout the quarantine. Juggling that while working from home can’t be easy.
Still, fret not. If you’re at your wits’ end (and sick of “Frozen II” on loop in the background), here are some ideas for keeping your kids (and yourself) sane at home until this quarantine passes:
Maintain a routine.
Of course, you can also incorporate activities like arts and crafts or light indoor exercises into your day. The key here is constancy, you see. While children might balk at rules and restrictions, they also need structure.
Teach your kids how to do household chores.
Since there are more people at home during the day, you can bet that the chores will increase as well. Dishes will pile up, the laundry basket will probably fill up faster, and the trash might need to be taken out earlier.
Hence, now would be as good a time as any to teach your kids how to help out around the house. For instance, they can start with putting away their own toys, clearing the table after a meal, and sorting the laundry. Putting kids in charge of certain chores also vests them with a sense of personal responsibility.
Be creative with screen time.
Let’s face it. Can the average parent really limit their kids’ screen time to under two hours these days? Not a chance.
So, rather than agonize over how much your kids might be glued to the screen, suggest alternative uses for their devices instead. Rather than streaming Netflix all day, perhaps they can Facetime with their grandparents?
Allow your kids to get bored.
So long as there are no sharp objects or electrical outlets within reach, let your kids entertain themselves. Besides, boredom isn’t so bad. Furthermore, learning how to deal with it is a useful skill, and it can stimulate creativity.
Just don’t be so alarmed once they start using the couch cushions to make pillow forts. Heck, why not join in during your coffee break?
Deputize your partner and older kids, if possible.
It takes a village and all that. If you’ve got a partner and you’re both working from home, take turns checking on the kids. Ditto if you’ve got older kids. It’s not like they’ve got places to go at this time, right?
If all else fails, simply provide the bare minimum – food, shelter, and a parent that’s just a few steps away – and don’t shame yourself for it. Some parents might be posting color-coded schedules for their kids and that’s great. Still, what kids really need right now is a sense of normalcy.
And sometimes, just keeping yours bathed, fed, AND out of trouble during a quarantine can be very reassuring. Through a child’s eyes, carrying on amidst abnormal circumstances simply means that no matter what happens, life can – and will – go on.