As a parent, I know how difficult this time is for families with kids. We’re not only worrying about being isolated; we also have to worry about our child’s future in this world, our child’s education and a million and one other things. Unfortunately, I don’t have all the answers, but I’ve put together a survival guide for families during the isolation period.
Here are my top tips for surviving lockdown:
1. CREATE ROUTINE
With the whole family in one space, you need to create some structure in the day. It doesn’t have to be inflexible, but a rough guide as to what gets done, when. Treat your days like any other days. Get up early to shower, make beds, eat breakfast and complete your usual list of morning chores. Set mini-goals for each day so that your kids understand what needs to be completed before they can head outside to play. Schedule mini-breaks too, for snacks, fresh air and perhaps some baking.
Make sure that everyone in the family is doing their bit to help out. Delegate chores and put up a chore chart. The very necessary cleaning frenzy means that everything from door handles, to the kettle handle, needs to be sanitised. Give each family member their own sanitiser spray and wipes for areas to sanitise.
2. OPENLY COMMUNICATE WITH YOUR CHILDREN
Allow some time to chat with your children about the virus, how it spreads and how they can play a role in “flattening the curve”. Arm them with information, not fear. Some of them will have little contact with their friends, so give them the opportunity to call their friends for chats. Verbal communication always trumps texting. Listen to your children’s concerns and try to reassure them – encourage them to express their feelings.
3. MAKE THE BEST OF THE SITUATION!
It’s not often that families get to spend quality time together – no sports schedules, no school schedules, no work schedules – make the most of it. Get out into nature as a family, have evening firepits, roll pizza bases, do online family yoga, play board games and maybe even head out for some garden camping. Try and enjoy the time you have.
4. ADD SOME BEDTIME RELAXATION TO YOUR ROUTINE
Get some lavender oil, a diffuser or light some candles and spend 10min together listening to relaxing music or guided meditation. We don’t always know how much our children may internalise their stress. By doing this, we bring peace into our homes and keep anxiety at bay.
5. STAY ACTIVE
There’s nothing like a workout to dissolve stress and anxiety. Build an obstacle course in your garden or house using chairs, tables, blankets, and the couch – the kids will have endless fun and you may be tempted to join in the action (keep it safe though – the hospitals don’t need more patients). Or get your kids to design workouts for the family to do together. Write out the numbers 1-10 on paper and several bodyweight movements – cut them out and place them in 2 different jars. Draw a number and a movement and write this down. This is a fun way to create home workouts.
Of course, we cannot forget “The toilet paper challenge”
Start teaching your kids how to use 2 squares of toilet paper at a time instead of fistfuls of toilet paper. The stuff is like gold, use it wisely!
HERE ARE SOME BONUS TIPS FOR WORKING PARENTS:
I am one of these, so I know you are reading this post and rolling your eyes thinking “how on earth do I get through all of this?”
- Find a few good documentaries (my kids love Planet Earth) and let the kids watch them while you work.
- There are great educational apps and games – download them and lift the technology restrictions temporarily – DON’T FEEL GUILTY!
- Download a few audiobooks that they can listen to.
- Schedule your work into 2hr blocks. You work for 2 hrs, then you do something with the kids for 30min. If you start early, you should easily manage to complete your work tasks.
Stay safe out there!