Are you stuck at home (with the kids) for the next few weeks? Me too. Today I’m sharing a few tips for how I plan to get through social distancing and self-quaratine with my sanity intact.
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I know we’re all tired of talking about self-quarantining and social distancing at this point.
I get it. I’m a little tired of it too.
BUT! Today is the first day of our spring break and, while school hasn’t been cancelled yet, I have a feeling that we’ll be off school for a lot more than just the next week. Add to that the fact that Corey is working from home and we’ve suddenly got four people (and one dog) cooped up in our house for the foreseeable future and it’s time to make a plan.
I asked on Instagram stories yesterday if any of you would be interested in hearing how I plan to structure our day to maintain as much sanity as possible for everyone and the majority of you did. So, let’s chat self-quarantine, shall we?
why are we doing this?
I’m sure you’ve heard it from all directions at this point, but here’s the short version: the best way to us to stay healthy and help ensure the people that we love stay healthy is to stay home as much as humanly possible.
We’re lucky enough to both be able to work from home so we really aren’t leaving the house, but if you don’t work from home that means that other than work, you should be limiting trips out of the house as much as possible.
No restaurants, no movies, no bars.
By staying home we help ensure that not only do we not get sick, we don’t accidentally carry the disease to anyone we love that might be more at-risk than we are (like my parents or Corey’s mom).
It’s not about us.
It’s about flattening the curve and ensuring that we slow the spread of the virus as much as we can.
what about play dates?
I get it. It’s hard to keep the kids entertained when you’re stuck at home all day and it can be a life-saver to be able to hang out with other families.
But, the problem is that you don’t always know how responsible others are being, and if you stay at home but still hang out with people who aren’t staying home, you’re defeating the purpose.
Here’s how we’re combatting it: we chose two other families in our neighborhood that we’re close with and spend a lot of time with already. We trust them and know that they’re self-quarantining as much as they possibly can just like we are. Between the three of us, we agreed that we wouldn’t be doing social visits with anyone else for the time being.
Basically, we took those two families and made them a part of our family.
So, we’re comfortable having play dates with them anytime during the self-quarantine period because we know that they aren’t hanging out with anyone but us. Obviously this does open us up to more risk than if we stuck strictly to our immediate family, but we’re realistic about the fact that we’ll all lose our minds if we don’t have some social time, so this was our best solution.
self-quarantine daily schedule
Corey and I sat down on Sunday afternoon and came up with a plan for how we would both be able to get work done while also making sure the kids are happy and (mostly) entertained.
There are lots of schedule ideas floating around out there, but here’s a rundown of what our general plan is.
A lot of the schedules I’ve seen have hour-long blocks, but for us, half-hour blocks work way better. With a 6-year-old and an 18-month-old, our attention spans are still pretty short.
I’ve tried block schedules that last an hour, and I find that towards the end of it we’re all a little frustrated and ready to move on – so, for the most part we just stick to doing things in 30-minute increments!
You also may notice that I purposefully built in a few blocks of independent play. I won’t jump on my teacher soap box right now but just don’t forget how important it is to encourage your kids to play without you regularly. It’s good for you and for them and I find that when I make it an intentional part of our schedule, it goes more smoothly (I can just point at the schedule and tell Jackson he’s on his own until the next time block!).
continuing learning at home
As of right now, we haven’t had school cancellations yet but I know it’s coming. We aren’t moving into full-on homeschool mode quite yet (though, we will if we need to!) but I do want to be intentional about having some learning activities to do with Jackson to keep him engaged in some stimulating activities over the break.
Here are a few things I ordered on Amazon to help keep us busy:
- Highlights Big Fun Workbook
- Sight Word Bingo
- Math War Addition + Subtraction Cards
- Math for Kindergarten Workbook
- DK Workbooks: Kindergarten Science
If you aren’t looking to spend a bunch of money (or if you just need more resources) there are tons of options out there. Here are a few of my favorites:
- Teachers Pay Teachers – you can get lesson plans, worksheets, art projects, and more! Filter by free items to only see items you don’t have to pay for, or spend a few bucks to support a teacher!
- Scholastic Learn At Home – Scholastic has created a website with 20 days of articles, stories, videos, and more to keep your kids busy while they’re at home. It’s all free!
- ABC Mouse – Always a fun resource for elementary-aged kids. You can get a free 30-day trial, which should be plenty to tide you over – or they’re currently running a promotion where you can get 2 months for $5!
- Adventure Academy – A really fun video-game-style site that also offers a free 30-day trial.
- BrainPop – Currently offering free access to any schools closed due to Coronavirus. You can request access on their site. This is a really great, comprehensive website with tons of learning activities!
- Prodigy – Super fun math games that kids love. It’s always free!
- Jumpstart – Simple, free worksheets that the kids should be able to do independently (always a win!)
- Sesame Street – their website has some cute videos and games, free printables, and coloring pages. You have to sign up for an account to access the stuff!
- K5 Learning – has tons of free worksheets for all grades and subject matter.
Other fun activities
Need some more non-academic ideas for how to keep the kids busy? There are tons of different resources and ideas out there (seriously, just search “kid activities” on Pinterest and you’ll have never-ending inspiration!), but here are a few of our favorites:
- Toss a box (you know, from all those Amazon deliveries since you can’t leave the house) on the floor with a bunch of crayons and markers and let the kids go to town. The bigger the box, the longer they’ll play.
- Bake something together. We love to bake chocolate chip cookies, but anything that gets your kids in the kitchen is great!
- Fill the kitchen sink with water, toss a few toys in, and let your kids give the toys a bath.
- Have a midday bath with some bath crayons and bubble bath (or color tablets!)
How to get work done
If you are working from home and have the kids it can be dang near impossible to accomplish anything. I should know because I do it aaaaall summer long!
Here are a few of my best tactics for ensuring I can get at least a little bit of work done.
- Wake up an hour before they will to knock out a little bit of work while it’s still quiet.
- Build independent play time and/or quiet time into your kids’ schedules where they know they have to entertain themselves. This can be harder for younger kids, but even Grant is able to play by himself for short periods of time while I knock out some work!
- Involve the kids if you can! Set them up next to you, give them a worksheet, and tell them you’re going to work together. Working alongside them helps them feel like they’re still involved and getting attention and gives you a chance to get a few things done.
- Even if your kids are older, implementing a rest time can be hugely helpful. I get so! much! stuff! done during Grant’s nap, and during school breaks I usually make Jackson take a hour-long break in his room to rest, read books, or quietly play while I work.
- Accept that screen time will happen. We generally don’t allow screen time at all during the week – but I’ve already acknowledged that we won’t be able to sustain that while we’re all home for the next few weeks if Corey and I want to get any work done. I’m loosening my restrictions on screen time and mentally preparing for the fact that there will be days that we rely on the television even more. It’s okay.
- When all else fails, pour yourself a glass of wine when the kids are in bed, turn on a movie you’ve already seen a few times, and knock out your work before bed. Taking a few steps to make it at least a little more enjoyable helps make it feel like you aren’t losing out on your “you” time!
Here are a few other blog posts you might find helpful. Good luck out there, friends!
- Tips for setting up a chore chart for your preschooler
- The schedule we followed over the summer (includes lots of “leaving the house” ideas, but is also a great way to wrap your head around creating a family schedule)
- Kid’s room organization tips – perfect if you want to do some deep cleaning with them!
- Favorite board games to play with kids.
- A fun craft idea to do with your kids.
- Ways to use spray chalk to play in the backyard.
- Delicious strawberry lemonade you could make with the kids…
- …or some equally delicious sangria you could make to help get you through.
- And finally, this is another simple, fun craft the kids will love!