If you've got your kiddos at home for the next few weeks you may be scratching your head wondering how are you going to not only keep your kids entertained during the quarantine, but how are you going to survive!? That oh so sweet feeling of dropping your kids off to school before running to the nearest McDonalds for a diet coke or Dunkin' for a coffee is a distant memory. Because I have my kids for half of the summers, I'm used to needing to brainstorm ways to create fun on a budget so my kids and I can have a great time together and maximize the free time. Each year my kids and I make a bucket list and try to do as many things on the list as possible. It's not a requirement to do everything, and if something comes up that isn't on the list we welcome the idea, but the bucket list is a great starting point to keep everyone busy, happy, and sane.
In that spirit, I put together what I believe is a quarantine survival guide! I'm not a doctor, so I'm not giving any medical advice for surviving coronavirus (outside of washing your hands and following the CDC's suggestions). But I am a dad, so let me share with you some tips and tricks for getting through this difficult time!
1. Remember that your kiddos are ALSO dealing with the disruption of THEIR schedules. They aren't seeing their friends or teachers or... dare I say... getting a break from their siblings and even... parents. This isn't totally easy on them- even though it's what most kids would jokingly pray for at the beginning of most school days! So be patient with them and be willing to TALK with them about what they're going through and need.
2. Make time for doing nothing. You guys are going to be around each other a lot more than you might be used to, AND you're not going to have the breaks or social outings you're used to either. This can be a lot for anyone, particularly parents. So make sure you plan to do nothing throughout the day. Call it quiet time, call it "don't bother dad or mom because their heads could explode if you do" time. It doesn't matter what you call it, just make sure you give everyone a chance to have some solo time to recharge, regroup, and reconsider putting the minors up for adoption.
3. Treat this as an adventure. Yes it's scary. Yes people are absolutely dying. But I'm reminded of something I heard in the Mr. Rogers documentary. Mr. Rogers talked about the importance of protecting the childhood of the children. I love the idea that we are charged with the task of making sure our kids still have a childhood, even when things are tough or scary or stressful. So to that end I suggest treating these next few weeks at home with your kiddos as an adventure, not a death sentence. Help your kids see that this can be a scary thing but also an adventure.
4. Find and create balance. It's too difficult to try to do everything all at once. You'll burn out and things will be terribly out of whack. Instead, I encourage everyone to find balance between academic activities, social activities, fun activities, solo activities, etc. You'll see on my suggested "Quarantine With Kids" downloadable PDF a whole host of ideas in different categories. I encourage you to find a balance by not just doing all of one of the categories, but mix things up and create balance!
5. Finally, make memories. I don't remember anything like this in my childhood. I remember a couple of major life events, but nothing where I saw the sort of longterm quarantine/panic that we are seeing now. It's a big deal, no matter how you slice it. Because it is so monumental, your kids are undoubtably going to remember this time. Let's give them some worthwhile memories! I suggest taking a quarantine family photo or making a quarantine time capsule- anything to help commemorate this time you get to spend with your family in a way you haven't been able to before.
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If you need more ideas, here are some great resources I found: