Quarantine…What can I say? These last few months have been.. I mean…WOW
If you are back in isolation with school aged children, you’ve had to accommodate the fact that your kids were suddenly and unexpectedly taken out of school (again!). Definitely the hardest part for me to cope with. With younger children at home as well, the struggle is very real.
To top it off, the children are unable to leave the house. Now listen, I love my kids to death. Every parent I know loves their kids more than anything in the world, but that doesn’t mean that having them at home all day, every day, for weeks and months at a time, is easy.
So I think we can all agree that these are extraordinary times, and as such, they require some extraordinary measures to keep everyone sane and halfway functional.
For some of us, that probably means some big adjustments to the usual routine.
This whole situation is, obviously, beyond crazy and we’ve got to do what we’ve got to do here, I get that. I wanted to drop in here and give you some tips to keep your children feeling secure and rested during quarantine, and to help you keep your sanity while you’re at it.
Stick to the script
Have you ever wondered why babies can engage in the same boring little pastime for hours on end? Why a game of peek-a-boo can make them squeal with delight as heartily on the hundredth time as it does on the first? It’s because, at least in part, their expectations are being met. They watch you put your hands over your face, then think to themselves, “Oh hey! I know what happens next! She’s going to move her hands away, and her face is going to be right there!” And sure enough, the hands drop, Mama gives her the familiar “Peek-a-boo!” and baby thinks to herself, “Oh, I knew it! I knew that was going to happen!”.
Routines give kids a sense of security.
Knowing what’s on the schedule provides them with a road map for their day. That knowledge makes them confident and puts their minds at ease. Even though we may need to make some serious concessions, there’s a lot to be said for keeping things predictable and consistent wherever possible.
Let’s just embrace screen time
In my case, and in the case of nearly every other parent I know, we’ve slightly upped screen time by about three thousand percent.
None of us are thrilled about it. We’d all like to be the Instagram-influencer parents who are using this time to teach our kids to make sourdough bread and macrame hats, but as we all know, those people and their kids are androids. For those of us in the real world, extra screen time for the kids might just be the difference between a peaceful afternoon and a mutual meltdown.
Just one caveat – screens emit a lot of blue light which can interfere with the body’s natural circadian rhythm. Go ahead and let your kids indulge in extra screen time. Turn them off around an hour before bedtime (the screens, not your kids).
Keep ringing the dinner bell
When it comes to mealtimes, again, try to stay as consistent as possible. Few things affect our bodies’ sense of timing like when we eat, so allowing meal and snack times to fluctuate too much can upend your little one’s schedule. Sugary snacks will likely leave them with too much energy come bedtime and the occasional upset tummy. So keep an eye on how much junk food they’re getting into.
Early to bed, early to rise…
Sticking to the usual bedtimes and wake up times is important.
Predictability and structure are, again, sources of comfort for our kids. Even though there’s no roll call each morning, it’s still a good idea to keep things on schedule. Besides, things are eventually going to go back to normal, and trying to get them back onto their usual schedule is going to be a challenge. You’re better off just sticking to the tried and true.
My last bit of advice? The advice I have to tell myself daily!