We all know America is in lockdown for at least the rest of the month, and that means a lot of families are facing a shocking disruption to their normal routine. With kids unexpectedly out of school, events cancelled, public places closed, work stresses in flux, and your family suddenly together much more than you’re used to, it can all feel a bit overwhelming.
Unlike most of you, my husband and I both work from home and have always homeschooled our three children. So being together most of the time is our wheelhouse, and we want you to know that you can do it! Here are some tips, not just to help you get through it, but to go beyond that and actually find some joy in the midst of it.
- Give Yourself Grace. Give your kids grace. Give your spouse grace. This is all new and a lot of people are nervous and not sure of what will happen in this time.
- Take a Nap! Allow yourself and your kids to do this. But even if you don’t take naps, I highly recommend that you have a quiet time every single day. Since our oldest gave up her naps, we have a mandatory 90-minute quiet time every afternoon. This allows a chance for kids (and parents) to have some alone time and to nap if they need it. Many days, our kids get extremely creative during this time.
- Eat Your Meals Together. A lot of families are going many different directions at night, and don’t normally have time for this. Take this opportunity to enjoy that time together.
- Increase Your Kids’ Screen Time . . . but Not Too Much. In our home, our kids get screen time (i.e. video games or tablet time) for a specific amount of time every other day. During this period we will increase it, but they still won’t get unlimited time because they get cranky and bicker more if they get too much.
- Speaking of Meals – Let Your Kids Start Cooking. Teach them the basics if you haven’t already. Measuring things out is a great way to practice fractions.
- It’s Spring, so Do Some Spring Cleaning. This is a great time to go through clothes and toys and books.
- Read Together. Have your older kids read to your younger kids. Listen to an audible book as a family.
- Teach Your Kids to Do Laundry. If you haven’t taught your kids how to do things like laundry yet, this is the time since you will be home. Our youngest has to stand on a stool to help with things, but she is still learning how to sort her clothes, move items from washer to dryer, hang up, fold, and put away clothes.
- Play Board Games. Get out those games that you buy every Christmas, but life gets in the way and you don’t have time to play. Kids LOVE their parents joining in the games.
- Do Puzzles. We are huge puzzle fans and even have a puzzle exchange going on at our church for families who do a lot.
- Play Card Games. Get out the UNO and start playing. Kids love this, and it can get really wild and fun. Or get a regular deck of cards and look up games on the Internet. Play the games your grandparents taught you!
- Get a Pile of Craft Supplies. You probably have a lot lying around the house. Put them all in the middle of the table and let your kids loose with no rules. Michael’s and Hobby Lobby put coupons out every week. Go there and get some of the super cool craft kits they have.
- Put On a Puppet Show. Have kids make their own puppets and put on a show for you.
- Go on Walks Together. Make it a game for your kids to find flowers/trees blooming. Look for signs of animal tracks. Try to identify all the trees in your neighborhood. Look for bird nests.
- Go Outside to Play! Your backyard isn’t a public space, so send your kids outside every single day to play!
- Have a Lego Building Challenge. You can look up ideas online or make up your own. This keeps kids busy for hours.
- Build with Bricks. The instructions for every LEGO set ever released is available online, as are instructions for all kinds of MOCs (My Own Creations). Build new (to you) sets with your current bricks, or get inspiration for your new builds.
- Start a Movie Marathon. If you have Disney+, start with the very first movie (Snow White) and work your way through them in order of release date. Wikipedia has a list of every Disney movie in chronological order.
- Have a Sundae Date Night. Grab a bunch of ice cream and toppings when you are picking up groceries. Or have ice cream for breakfast!
- Let the Kids Pick Any Utensil to Eat Dinner with. This may have one kid eating pasta with tongs and another trying to eat soup with a garlic press, but think of the memories.
- Decorate Boxes. Do you have boxes from Amazon lying around? Let the kids make creations out of them. They can make houses for their babies, backgrounds for LEGOS, and more.
- Pick a Topic, Any Topic . . . Or better yet, let each child pick the topic. Then head to Google and YouTube and prepare yourself to be amazed at how many hours you can spend exploring the fascinating facts about just about anything.
One final note. I know multiple families living in China who have been in quarantine for almost eight weeks now. The most common thing they are saying is that the hidden beauty of this has been the alone time they have had with their kids. I always try to find the good in situations, and this could be a sweet time for many families here in America. I hope this has encouraged you, be safe, and remember you are not alone.
Let me know in the comments if you have any other ideas to share.
Louanne lived in 17 places as a kid before finding where she belonged — Texas. She loves her family, eating cookies, loves Jesus, and homeschooling her girls. She also sells LuLaRoe clothes because it’s fun, but she never imagined how much she would talk about bust sizes before being a clothing retailer.