Updated: Apr 18, 2020
Since the quarantine started, you may feel like Spring Break happened, and it never ended! Uggghhh! You're hoping someone will pull the plug on your version of Groundhog Day! For some of you, the kids have taken over the house, and you're waving your surrender flag.
Is that how you're feeling? Are you feeling a little overwhelmed and crazy? Do you have your crazy face yet? Well, you are not alone, and millions of parents all around the world wish they could fast forward this year and return to some normality. Parents are taking this life adjustment, one day at a time from week to week and now from month to month. Unless homeschooling was already apart of your daily schedule, you might feel stuck being with your kids 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Even though we are not sure how long we will have to stay in our home assuming multiple roles from the parent, teacher, counselor, tech support, barber/stylist, and the list goes on - life will get better, and you will have funny stories to share.
So, let's take a look at how you can get a handle on things at home. We've listened to all types of chatter and watched all of the crazy - yet funny posts from struggling parents.
Well, this post will help put a pause on your twilight zone, and give you a starting point to take control of your life, your home, your kids, your days, your time, and your sanity. Whoo, yes, that is a lot of getting your life in control, but you will, and you have too.
First, the quarantine is not going to last forever, so there is an ending, and you will survive this year. Second, despite how you're feeling, you are not a terrible parent if you're not doing everything right. No, you don't suck. You needed time to adjust. Now, you have to get your head back in the game and use this tool to help manage your family more effectively.
GET ON A SCHEDULE
Now, before COVID-19 hit our homes, you and your family had a schedule. Yes, you all followed a program. Now, the scenario has changed, but the rules remain the same. So, why do you need a schedule when you're stuck at home? Well, you need structure, and it is necessary during this time. A schedule provides peace and trust amid everything going haywire around us. Kids will feel secure.
A schedule provides your children with a daily road map—a starting point with a destination. An outline will help your family know what to expect and provide a consistent routine. If you want to minimize anxiety, stress, boredom, and chaos in your home, you can enlist your children to take part in creating the schedule. Allowing your children to take part in creating the plan will engage them in identifying solutions.
Schedule Tip: You may find distance learning a little challenging and time consuming because your children and you are not used to assuming the teacher's role. If you want to complete all of the assigned school work, make sure you break up schoolwork and plan less time for activities such as art, music, and other fun activities. Make sure you incorporate outdoors such as walking, gardening, or backyard time at least once a day. You should encourage plenty of time outside to ensure your children receive plenty of fresh air but within a safe distance to practice social distancing.
Schedule Tip: We created a schedule template to ensure your family's success. Grab your FREE tool on website, and put your schedule in place today.
Schedule Tip: Include a designated social connection time each day, so your children can connect with people outside your home. They can video chat with friends and family using one of the following apps:
Skype | Best easy-to-use multiplatform video chat
Google Duo | Best video chat for Android users
FaceTime App | Best video chat app for iPhone users
Facebook Messenger | Best cross-platform FaceTime alternative
Remember, don’t be afraid to adjust your schedule as needed. Make sure you post the schedule in a place where everyone will see it, or you can even write it on a whiteboard.
MAINTAIN YOUR USUAL HOUSEHOLD RULES
Now, we know the transition period may have caused you to slack on some rules or overlook some practices. Your house may look messier, and the kid's rooms may seem like a tornado hit. It is OK; you can reimplement or reintroduce your usual household rules. Your family household rules will provide your kids with a sense of normalcy and help reassure them that some things have not changed, but remain the same.
Keeping the house clean is a necessary household rule, and when you're in a uncluttered environment ie, a clean house, you can decrease feelings of anxiety. Guess what - there is a silver lining to having your kids at home during the quarantine - chores will keep your kids busy and teach them life skills. Once you have restored your household rules, you can summarize them below the family schedule as a reminder.
Household Rule Tip: If you need to motivate your kids to help stay on top of the cleaning, get them involved in the decision-making process. You can have them help you create the chore list. If you have smaller children, and you want to include them in on the action, insert pictures so they too can view and understand the chore list.
Household Rule Tip: Turn chores into a fun game. If your kids have a passion for dancing, music, or singing, incorporate the things they enjoy into their tasks.
Household Rule Tip: Add an incentive program to help your kids stay motivated to follow the household rules. Everyone loves rewards. Find out what they want and allow them to earn it. You can reward with stars and keep a star chart.
Believe it or not, there is a lot to do at home to keep your kids occupied and unbored. You can take virtual field trips and incorporate fun activities every day. Your kids can tour the world, visit museums, learn about animals and more. Below are a few of our favorite virtual trips and activities to keep you busy over the next few weeks. Also, make sure you join our mailing list so that you can learn about more creative activities on and off the Internet.
Your kids can visit some of the most reputable art galleries in the world without leaving your home. Discover art museums from Paris to New York to Amsterdam, and learn about the world’s most famous artists and the work they created.
Creative Tip: Your children can select their favorite piece of art and recreate the piece they love.
Here are few links to our favorite online museums. National Museum of African American History & Culture, Washington, DC
Louvre Museum, Paris
National Gallery of Art, Washington DC
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam
Uffizi Gallery, Florence Italy
Did you know you can take a trip to the zoo without leaving your home? Well, zoo webcams allow visitors to pop in and take a peek at zoo’s favorite animal exhibits and their habitats. Your kids can still explore and learn about the world's wonderful animals and see how they live. You can plan a field trip every week online.
Check out a few of these amazing online zoos below:
San Diego Zoo, San Diego, CA
Zoo Atlanta Panda Cam, Atlanta, GA
Smithsonian’s National Zoo, Washington, DC
Reid Park Zoo Lion Cam, Tuscon, AZ
Ouwehand Park Polar Bear Cubs, Rhenen, Netherland
Creative Tip: Your children can select their favorite animal and create a miniature habitat along with additional information on their animal. Create your home show and tell, so your kids can show off what they have learned.
Creative Tip: Your children can create a face mask of their favorite animals or art to hang in your home of their favorite animals using materials in your home.
Here are a few additional resources to help you with your zoo activities:
Virtual Field Trip Lesson Plan by readwritethink.org
Free Zoo Field Trip Worksheet by Teacherspayteachers.com
Like zoos, aquariums use webcams to allow you to visit their exhibits virtually. Check out a few aquariums below who offer fun virtual staff-led tours.
Monterey Bay Aquarium, Monterey, CA
Georgia Aquarium, Atlanta, GA
National Aquarium Virtual Tour, Washington, DC
Creative Tip: Research your favorite sea animal and make a presentation.
Here are a few additional resources to help you with your zoo activities:
Free Aquarium Field Trip Worksheet by TeachersPayTeachers.com
TAKE A TOUR AROUND THE WORLD
Today, you can travel around the world without leaving your home. Your kids can learn fun facts about different cultures and their history.
Here are a few of our favorite world tours below.
Google Maps street view will allow you to visit almost any destination around the world. Check out this view from Pompei
Virtually discover Yellowstone National Park, Yellowstone National Park, WY
Creative Tip: Your child(ren) can plan a trip to a destination. They can learn about the history, food, culture, and more. If you want to take your creativity a step further, you and your kids can plan a trip, so when the quarantine ends, travel restrictions are over, and it is safe to travel your next vacation is all mapped out.
You can create anything when you use your imagination. The Internet offers an array of resources to help keep you ahead of the game with educational tools and entertainment. Sadira Gray and her family are making the best of the quarantine by adding some creative fun to their kid's homeschooling. Check out their creative twist to science day.
You may hear all the chatter online about growing your food, especially since the pandemic. Many have turned to learn about gardening because there is nothing worse than shopping for your family, and you can find the items you need, or certain items are on limited supply. Well, you can use this time, and learn about gardening. This creative outdoor activity will teach your children a new skill, an appreciation for their food, as well as patience.
Do you need seeds? Here is a link to DollarSeeds.com to purchase affordable seeds, and start your garden.
Here is a fun video on, "7 Budget-Friendly Garden Hacks For Beginners Or Kids // A Beautiful Nest Tv Gardening Series."
PREPARE YOUR PANTRY
We have all experienced the shortage, and shopping for your family in a pandemic is stressful if you are not prepared. We recommend shopping for 2-4 weeks of groceries to minimize your trips and your health risk. Purchase enough meats and non-perishable items for 30 days to feed your family. Perishable items like eggs, milk, fresh produce can be purchased on bi-weekly bases. Create your weekly menus and prep your meats ahead to minimize the stress of cooking and adequately portion out your food.
Here is a video by Neal Barnard, MD on must have Pantry Staples - Healthy Foods to Stock Up On Now.
Stress sucks, and uncertainty can cause fear, anxiety, and more. Kids can experience stress in different ways and not know how to manage their stress. We want to offer several tips to help you and your family manage your stress.
Manage Stress Tip: Prayer is Powerful. If you are looking for peace amid chaos, prayer is your solution. You can use this time to establish prayer in your home and bond with your family. We recommend starting your morning family by setting a dedicated devotion time to set the tone for your day. Take time to show gratitude for life, health, wisdom, and strength.
Remember, you and your family will make it through and out of this crisis stronger and better. You can use the COVID-19 pandemic as a teaching moment for your family. Show your children how to soar when the pressure is on. Show your children how to keep your head in the game despite how things appear. We are here for you, and we are committed to providing you with the tools you need to keep your sanity during the quarantine.