16 Self-Isolating Tips For Parents That've Worked For My Kids So Far
Self-isolating + parenting = a lot!
Hi, I'm Mike and this is me with my wife, Heather. and our children, Annie, 10, and James, 6. My family has been self-isolating since March 13 because of the coronavirus, which means that we've spent almost two weeks together 24/7 in our home.
So far — all things considered — our kids have gotten through the time indoors pretty well, so I thought I’d share some things we've done with them that have worked for us.
(Note: We're just regular parents, not parent experts/child psychologists or anything, so take it all with a grain of salt!)
1. We've let them play on electronics a little more than usual.
2. We've kept it casual.
Have we gone entire days in our pajamas? Yes. Is that ok? YES! Look, if there's ever going to be a time when you can indulge in all-day pajama wearing, it's now, amirite?
3. We've had family movie night...every night.
4. We've asked them how they’re doing and if they have questions in a calm way during meals.
Keeping it relaxed is good, because if you ask — all wild-eyed — “DO YOU HAVE QUESTIONS?! ARE YOU SCARED?! OMG, LAWD HELP US!!!” — you will probably alarm the kids. Our kids have asked questions and understand what is happening, but they don’t seem too alarmed or worried, and I think that’s good. No need to worry them more than they need to be.
5. We had a social distance-safe visit with the grandparents.
6. We've also had the kids FaceTime with their cousins and friends.
My kids really appreciated seeing their pals' faces, and it was actually funny watching how they FaceTimed. Often, they just leaned the phone up against something and started practicing dances together or showing off action figures.
7. We've done our best to eat healthier dinners every night.
8. We've only watched the news on the TV in our bedroom.
My wife and I want to stay on top of what's happening, so we have the news on in our room. But when the TV is on in the main room, it is tuned to fun shows, like cartoons or movies.
9. We've taken them outside to ride their bikes every day.
10. We've let the kids make a blanket and couch pillow fort.
The kids have always wanted to do this, but we’ve always said “no.” But now we thought, Why not? Building and playing in the fort entertained them for two days, and honestly took less clean up (and did less damage) than I imagined.
11. We've played a lot of board games.
12. We've worked with the kids on their homeschooling packets.
My kids' school is going to start distance learning over the computer next week, so we will see how THAT goes! But so far they have been assigned a packet each week to complete. After the first day, we discovered it's important to sit with them when they do this (otherwise they won't do all of it correctly), but it has been good for them. We generally do an hour of the packet per day.
13. We've also let them do kids yoga on YouTube.
14. We've maintained regular bedtimes.
With so much different right now, it's good for kids to have some things remain the same.
15. We've encouraged reading before sleep.
16. And we've let our youngest sleep with us when he's needed to.
Our son has been really good at sleeping in his own bed for a while now, but a few times during self-isolating he has come into our room and asked to sleep with us. I'm not sure why exactly — I imagine he's experiencing perhaps more stress than he's letting on — but instead of shooing him back to his room we're letting him climb in and feel secure. Right now especially, that feels right.