My husband works in healthcare. Before the COVID-19 outbreak it was already difficult as a stay-at-home-mom to keep 3 young children busy on my own. Back then I could break up our days with outings and play-dates. For more than two weeks we have been in isolation in our home in Cincinnati, OH. In that time I have developed ways to maintain some element of ‘normal’ while introducing new activities to keep everyone entertained and sane.
Stick to Routine: Days can start to blend together when staying at home day in and day out. We have still been continuing our morning rituals including getting dressed and ready to go after breakfast.
Preschool continues at home with Mom on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. My daughter had an hour of music school on Fridays, so that continues to the best of my ability (dancing to Disney music counts right!?). I'm also the Sunday school teacher after breakfast on Sundays. Tuesdays are for fun adventures, which now include obstacle courses, forts, bike rides, make-believe, arts and crafts, etc. Thursdays we usually had play dates, but now we're trying to check in with our friends and family via FaceTime and WhatsApp.
‘Normal’ is in the Details: The first time I tackled preschool at home my 4 year-old kept telling me what I was supposed to do. They had to bring their backpacks and have cubbies. His preschool class had different centers for different activities. ‘Snack time is at the end of class, Mom!’ I have even been packing them lunches in their lunchboxes. Now I have a set up closer to what he is used to, things have been going smoothly. We like to have our classroom outside on our deck in nice weather; a big blanket in the grass would work too!
Stay Organized: If my house wasn’t already a mess before…. Since we are holding lessons four times a week I have come up with a system to keep my house from getting overrun with crafting supplies, books, artwork, and everything else. The big items we use are an Ikea kid’s table for inside, Little Tikes kid’s table for outside, Hape easel, Crayola art kit, and my diaper caddy (which has proven super useful for organizing all our craft items). I set everything up while the kids have breakfast and we put everything away after our lessons.
Interact with your Community Remotely: Our preschool posts video lessons every other day that aids me in my teaching. They also post at-home activity ideas. Check to see if any of your schools, libraries, story time, etc. have these options via Facebook, email, or live video streaming!
Bear hunts and Easter egg counting has been the new way we interact with our neighbors. These activities are simple. Contact all your neighbors you can and ask them to put a teddy bear in a window viewable from the sidewalk and hunt them on a walks. Have your kids and neighbor kids make paper Easter eggs and hang them in your front windows and count how many you find on a walk.
Hanging thank you signs are also great gestures for healthcare workers to see on their way to work or for people delivering food/goods to your door. Since our Daddy is a Dr. we created a coloring template Super Dr. design that is now circulating around windows in our neighbor for everyone staying home to show support for the people fighting this awful virus. Feel free to print it out here and show support for those in your community!
Mommy Maintenance: Don’t forget about yourself during these crazy times! As a mom I already have to remind myself to take care of me and regularly check in on my mental health. Meditation and yoga have been my best friends lately. No matter how tired I am I commit to at least 15 minutes of yoga before going to sleep at night. Although this is an important time to be in-the-know, it also helps limiting the amount of COVID-19 related material I read. I stick to the outlets I know I will get the most reliable information. Most of the time that means simply watching parts of my Ohio governor Dewine’s press releases each day.
Hang in there everyone!!! And please, please keep healthcare workers in your prayers. While you do your part by staying home they are fighting this virus at the frontlines with limited safety gear and supplies. Many in high hitting areas are even quarantined from their spouses and children indefinitely. Stay healthy and stay home to save lives.
How are you keeping your routine during this crazy time? Comment below!