With schools, pre-schools and kindergartens closing around the world many women have to stay home with their kids. Here are some tips on how to keep your kids happy and entertained while practicing self care.
1. Wine, lots of Wine
Insert favorite comfort and relaxation item here. Times are crazy and scary right now. It’s perfectly fine to have some wine – or whatever works for you – and relax. Make sure you stock up on your favorites while you can. You never know if and when your city might go on lock down! Self care while at home with the kids is still important.
2. Manage the Toys
Confiscate at least 50% of the available toys immediately. Hide them in a closet, or some other place where you know your kids won’t find them. That way you have a steady supply of ‘new’ toys for them to play with. Bring out one new toy every other day, or whenever they get restless and bored. Since you are stuck at home make sure to budget well, we don’t know at this point how long this crisis is going to last.
3. Teach them new things
Your kids burst with curiosity! They are potential future world travelers. Take this time and opportunity to teach them about other countries. Pick a country, gather some pictures, and talk about it with your kids. Do it more than once, with more than one country. There’s a lot of world out there to learn about.
4. Take advantage of online resources
A lot of fun places are closed during this time, but they are finding ways to still let people participate. The Cincinnati Zoo, for example, will have a Facebook Live event every day at 3 pm on their home page, which will feature an animal and an activity that kids can do at home.
5. Have them do school work
It’s good to keep up some structure and routine in your kids’ daily life when they need to stay at home. Hopefully your kids’ school gave you some work sheets, or any pointers as to what would be good for them to do while at home.
6. Let them help with cooking
Cooking with your kids can be super fun and great entertainment! It’s something different to do, and while the kitchen may turn out a bit messier than you’d like there ill be dinner at the end of this exercise! You can get your kids excited about it by choosing a recipe together, or by watching a cooking show and try to recreate the recipe on the show.
7. Keep them active
Make sure they get all that young people’s energy out! Hopefully you have a place to go outside away from people, like a back yard. You could put on some races. Switch it up and make them do egg and spoon races! Of course there’s always the classic tag, hide and seek, sack races, hit the pot or musical chair!
8. Celebrate watching a movie
When your kids are all tuckered out it’s time to watch a movie. Try to make it special. Pick out some popcorn or other snacks, and maybe a juice box. Put out a blanket and have a picnic movie!
9. Pull out the board games
If you prefer to engage your kids a while longer play a board game. Those can even be fun for the parents, while possibly only mildly entertaining for older children. But hey, a family that plays together is a happy family!
10. Do Crafts
Crafts are a wonderful thing to do to pass the time when stuck at home. Which parent doesn’t proudly put their kids’ drawings up on the fridge? Maybe they even have some craft projects to do for school. There may be some birthdays coming up, or mother’s day. You can get ahead of the game by doing your crafts now, while you have lots of time on your hands. Maybe you also like to do crafts and can do your own while the kids do theirs. This could be a part of your self care when at home with kids.
11. Give yourself a time!
There’s a good chance that you are concerned at this point. It is very important to take good care of yourself. Make sure you take some time to do the things that make you happy. Take a bath. Put some nice bath salts in it. Read a good book. Drink that aforementioned wine. Having a drink to relax is self care. Drink another glass. Let your partner give you a back rub or foot massage. Take a deep breath.
Valerie is an emergency trauma nurse living near Chicago. Mom to Natalie (4) and Juliette (2) who are well traveled toddlers.