Unless you normally work at home, or are a stay at home mom, spending this forced time at home is a new and quite uncomfortable situation for many people. You may feel outnumbered, overwhelmed, exhausted and fearful as there seems to be no light at the end of the tunnel, yet.
What can you do to keep the kids, or yourself, from boredom? I have found a few great ideas to keep you busy while social distancing at home. I’ll stay away from the obvious choices like playing outside, binge watching TV and movies, binge playing video games, and spending time on Social Media. Going outside and getting fresh air should be a required daily activity for everyone, weather permitting, of course.
Enjoy The Moment- This Too Shall Pass
Naturally, fear is something that is going to enter our mindset at some point, if it hasn’t already. The best thing to do is not allow it to overcome our emotions and stress us out. Having the mindset “It is what it is,” and dealing with life “One day at a time,” is all we can do. Accepting this as true, and taking each day as it comes, will help. Worrying and stressing over this situation will only make it worse for you, and in turn, everyone else in the family.
If you have to excuse yourself from the news and social media for your sanity, then do so. The only thing you have control of is your actions, and those actions directly affect your children and those who depend on you. Stay sane. Do the right thing and keep yourself and your family away from social situations as best you can. It is hard, but it is all that you can do right now. The more people who stay home and self quarantine, the less the virus can spread. Managing this new lifestyle is a challenge, but you will get through this!
Meanwhile, there are others who could only dream to spend this “quantity” of time with their families because of their many responsibilities. For them, this may be the only time that they will ever have this quantity of time to be with their loved ones. We all should try to make our time be as much QUALITY TIME as possible. Your kids will never be this young again, and neither will you. So do your best to make the most of it.
If you find yourself feeling stressed, and the kids are driving you crazy, do what you can to have your own moment of alone time. If that means nap time for them and locking yourself in the bathroom for a few minutes, then do what you got to do! If you need a moment to yourself, ask your spouse or the responsible oldest adolescent in the home, to let you take a break. Walk outside, get fresh air and breathe.
Decompress when the kids are sleeping. Don’t feel guilty about that glass (or three) of wine at the end of the day! You Deserve it!
Here’s a thought: Don’t kill yourself trying to keep the house spotless right now, you’ll lose your mind, and honestly it doesn’t matter how neat the house is to anyone else but you. Who’s coming over anyway? No one.
I’m not suggesting in any way to become a slob. Just try not to freak out when things start to get a little out of place. As long as the kids are home 24/7, keeping up with the chores is going to be extra challenging. They’re kids, and your home is not a museum. Of course they should learn how to help tidy up after themselves but not to a point where you find yourself constantly fighting with them over it. (And if your spouse complains, hand him the vacuum cleaner and dust rag, and tell him to have at it!)
Remember, this too, shall pass. Here are some ideas to consider:
Let The Kids Keep In Touch With Their School Friends- Keep In Touch With Your Friends and Family Too!
Let them visit with their friends, without leaving the house.
Let’s face it, you can’t expect to keep the kids engaged with you for every minute of the day. School aged children are used to their social interactions with their friends. They miss their friends. Seeing their friends faces and chatting with them will make them feel more normal in these times. Allowing them to have “face time” with their friends will make them happy and give you a minute too.
If you’re like I was when my kids were young, you probably know and are friends with their friends’ moms and have their phone numbers. If not, ask your child’s teacher if she/he can help connect you with them. Reach out and see if their child is available for a video call. It is best to make the arrangements before you tell your child about your plan, to avoid any disappointment if it can’t happen. Once you arrange a time and day for their “virtual play date,” surprise your child with it.
There are many ways to see each other face to face in the digital world, and the beauty is they can do it without any risk of contamination. You can connect via your phone or computer, through Facebook, Google Hangouts, Snap Chat, or create Zoom meeting. The ability to see anyone you enjoy via a video chat is really a great thing, and your kids will be excited to see and spend time with their friends.
Video calls are also a great way to keep in touch with anyone you enjoy. It’s the safest way to be face to face and keep “social” and “distant.” Say “Hi” to your parents and grandparents with more than just a voice call. They will appreciate it!
Family Game Day and Night
There are lots of fun games to play with your family. Here are a couple to keep you all moving:
Hide and Seek:
To get them up and about, Hide and Seek is always a fun game to play, with everyone getting a turn to be “It.” No equipment is necessary and you can play it anywhere inside and outside.
With a little planning and imagination, you can easily create a list of things to Scavenger Hunt with items around your home. One person has to make the list and hide the items, and that person should be the official referee of the game. If you’re a creative person, you can make riddles to have players figure out what the item is first. If you have enough players, create teams of two or three. They’ll learn teamwork, which an important life skill.
For younger kids, a simple list is better. For example:
For more ideas on Scavenger Hunts check out this link:
There are lots of games out there to entertain your family.
Here’s a link to 32 Fun Games for your Family from www.today.com:
Tour a Museum Online
There are several famous museums that have online tours. Take tour of these museums from the comfort of your home.
Check out this article about Online Museum Tours from Travelandleisure.com here:
Teach The Kids To Cook While You Work At Home
Use this time, while you work at home, to teach the kids some life skills, like how to prepare a meal. Children like to be helpful. Get them involved in the kitchen and you will create delicious meals and wonderful memories together. Teach them how to follow recipe directions and measure ingredients properly. The little ones can get involved by doing simple things like helping you mix the ingredients all together.
These moments make lasting impressions on your children. Make sure that you tell everyone at the table that you weren’t the only chef in the kitchen. This will give them a sense of pride and accomplishment for helping.
Here are some ideas from delish.com:
Support Your Local Businesses Who Have Take Home Offers For Their Customers
There are local businesses offering take home activities! Help them stay in business while helping yourself keep the family occupied. You’ll be glad you did.
Here is an article with some great boredom buster ideas to support our Gloucester County Businesses in this time of crisis.
Record These Moments To Remember Later- Keep A Journal- Make Your Own Reality TV Show
When you do these things with your family remember to preserve these memories with photos, videos and journal entries. Make sure you capture the special moments of this time. You’ll be glad to look back on this when it is over.
In a perfect world all of the moments during this time will be happy ones, in spite of the crisis. Realistically, everyone is going to be frustrated at one point or another during this time. Your feelings are your feelings and outwardly expressing them is healthier than holding them, especially when you are forced to be at home and there’s no escape. Just venting your frustrations, out loud or in print, allows you to release the negative emotions and move forward.
To express themselves in a healthy way, encourage the kids to make a journal of how they are feeling and what they’ve been doing. Whether they are feeling happy or frustrated, encourage them to put their feelings in a journal.
This can be with pencil and paper, on their phones, on the computer, or video journal. Let them express how they feel by making daily entries. If they don’t want to do pencil and paper they can use voice to text into a word document. Allow them to journal what they are feeling helps them acknowledge those feelings and move on.
When your little ones are upset, ask them to express themselves in words or pictures instead of tears. Ask them why they are upset and listen to what they say. Write it down for them. Let them draw a picture if they want. You may not agree with what they say or how they feel but, by doing this, your are teaching them communication skills. When you encourage your child to express their feelings with words and you listen to them, you are validating that their feelings matter to you.
Here’s an article about the benefits of keeping a journal:
Make it fun! Start your own Reality TV Show.
Let the kids make up their own TV Skits, stories or news reports to record for play back. Encourage them to share what they think is entertaining or informative. Help them use their imaginations and tell a story through video. You’ll be surprised how creative your kids can be!
Here’s a link about helping your kids make movies:
Anyone who watches reality TV knows what a video confessional is. Here is an idea: Make a spot for a video confessional. That’s a place where everyone in the home can go and record themselves talking about whatever they are feeling. If something funny or memorable happens, tell the story in a video and share it with your friends and family. Record each family member telling their own version of the story. That can be very entertaining and enlightening.
Whether the conversations recorded in the confessional are good, bad, or simply ridiculous, it can be fun and therapeutic. It is just helpful have a place to escape for a moment and speak your mind. You can watch it later and laugh at yourself.
Hopefully, when we are no longer bound to the confinement of our homes, we won’t run to get away from one another, like wild animals freed from a cage. Rather, we will come out more connected with our loved ones. We’ll look back and cherish these moments that we were forced to spend time together. We’ll make it a priority to make more family time together, purposely and willingly.
Cheers to making the best out of a tough situation, and coming out stronger and better than ever!
Wishing you health and happiness.