Being in quarantine is new to all of us. It’s a challenge to adults who understand why we are doing it, and even more difficult for kids who are too young to understand what’s happening. They may see things being different but can’t exactly grasp it and therefore may act out more than usual. Any disruption in a child’s routine tends to backfire on the parents and I think we can all agree that quarantine tops that list.
Most kids before quarantine (BQ) was overscheduled. They were used to so many commitments that it left little time to just play and be a kid. They may have had music lessons, sports practice, religious school, homework, dance or martial arts, and even foreign language lessons. Being in quarantine makes it almost impossible to keep up with these schedules, at least outside of the home anyway. Since they’re not allowed to partake in outside classes, it’s up to the parents to devise a quarantine care plan that works for both the child and parent.
There are some people that always have their s%#t together. If you’re one of those people, then this may not be the best read for you. But if you think you can use the help, even a little, then keep reading because it will help your own sanity and it will save your kids from boredom. You may not ever have this time in your lives to create these moments of bonding with your kids where you’re spending this much time together ever again. Cherish the moment, seize the day…! Carpe Diem!
How can you do this?
Here are some ways to make the most of your time with your kids during quarantine:
a. Be calm/ relax:
Learning to be calm is not easy but it is very necessary when dealing with kids during the quarantine. It takes lots of patience and practice. We need to show our kids that how we react to something negative is just as important as the negative thing itself. Being calm during a stressful time is especially important and can happen even if you feel helpless. A method that has helped me in the past to become a more calm parent, is to count to 10 whenever I feel like I’m going to lose it at my kids. Even though it sounds so simple and obvious, it works like a charm. This method shows that when we breathe and react slower, it affects what we do and how we do it, which in turn makes the situation less heated. Remembering that they are kids and are stuck in this predicament too helps.
You can maintain calmness by:
- Getting adequate sleep nightly
- Performing morning meditation rituals
- Listening to soothing or enjoyable music
- Exercise to increase endorphins (my fave is yoga)
With a calm mind, you will be able to take care of your kids without losing your mind.
b. Create a kid’s schedule:
This can be fun because you can have them create a schedule with you. You can find time to do daily activities together which can coincide with your routine habits. Teach them to think of the things that they know they need to do and then add in some realistic activities that they would like to do. Ask them what activities they want to partake in. If they’re mature enough try letting them select some of the times for eating, napping, playing, watching TV, reading books, and sleeping. Hopefully, they will feel obligated to follow the plan to the very end.
You should also create learning schedules. It should include their academic school work to help them keep up the pace when school resumes. Maybe even teach them something about topics that aren’t always covered in school like what’s happening in your backyard like horticulture, bird calls, or try rock painting.
c. Engage in bonding activities:
This is a great opportunity to bond with your kids, not to push them away and get the iPad to babysit them. They aren’t going to be kids forever so try your best to use that time to teach them basic concepts about life, love, family, or a bit of history (even if it’s a family history). You can create a family tree with photos and hand drawings done by your kids.
Examples of bonding activities are:
- Solving puzzles together as a family
- Making homemade treats and meals together
- Creating videos together for social media
- Playing games or even creating your own games
- Putting on plays of your kid’s favorite books or historical events
- Planting flowers
- catching bugs/worms and learn about them
- Planning a party for when it’s safe to be around others
d. Encourage Reading
- To foster a love of reading is a hard task but it could be easy when you show them. To make reading more fun you can:
- Read with your kids ( kids of all ages love the attention to pick a book that has is interesting to both of you so you’ll both will want to read together nightly)
- Read to your kids ( this is very relaxing and enjoyable so prepare for a decent amount of time to be set aside). Your kids may not always remember what books they read but they’ll always remember that you spent special time with them and how it made them feel.
- Download apps like Kindle to discover new books
- Write your own books then afterward you can illustrate them and read them as a part of your reading repertoire.
e. Tell them the truth
Honesty is the best policy and this goes for what’s going on in society today more than ever. Life is different and they know it. They hear things we don’t think they hear. Kids may hear the news on TV, conversations between parents and friends as well as other kids. Keeping kids safe doesn’t include keeping them shielded from the world and its realities. Depending on a child’s age, a parent should choose how much they would like their child to know and share what they believe is acceptable. Every child and every parent is different so be sure to make your personal family decisions based on what you believe is best for your child.
Growing up means becoming more responsible in practicing good hygiene habits like covering our noses and mouths when we are around others and washing our hands for at least 20 seconds with soapy water. Staying safe means different things to different children of all ages so try to be cognizant of how your child reacts to all the new information they’re receiving. Helping your child through this very anxious time by understanding that it’s normal to feel worried about what will happen to them, will help your family cope through this uneasy time together.
f. Eat healthy and exercise:
Feed your kids healthy foods and show your whole family that doing so will strengthen your immune systems. Eating fresh fruits and vegetables that contain antioxidants is a smart choice that parents need to show their children how to do instead of buying junk food or sugary desserts.
Don’t forget to move every day! Take a break by moving in a fun way like dancing together. This will show them that regular exercise is not only a healthy way to live but also fun! Do stretches together and you open the door to showing your kids that yoga is a mindful option where practicing breathing can help control their negative feelings of worry, sadness, or frustration.
g. Make use of apps:
Technology can be used to your advantage. There are thousands of apps out there to teach kids how to do all the things we never thought of doing ourselves. Some fun ones would be to learn how to play a musical instrument, how to write with both hands, how to juggle, how to knit, how to do a backflip, how to yodel, how to make math fun or even how to build a treehouse. These are great suggestions and I’m sure with the help of your kids, there will be hundreds more that you can attempt together.
h. Take care of yourself:
Just as adults should first put on their oxygen masks and THEN their child’s mask in a plane in case of an emergency, so too should you take care of yourself before you can attempt to help your child. You can’t take care of a child if you’re too sick, tired, or frazzled.
Taking the time to care for yourself emotionally is just as important as it is physically and is also overlooked. Staying well-rested as much as possible will help everyone for your kid’s sake. Try to meditate, read, listen to your fave music, and nap so that you can be the best YOU you can be. As parents, we tend to think that our children are our life, but first, we need to make sure we are well equipped with the tools we need to make the most of that life with our kids during the quarantine.