Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash
One of the most challenging parts of being quarantined for many families has got to be the fact that so many families couldn’t leave their homes. Keeping kids interested gets harder and harder and almost becomes impossible at a certain point.
My mind has been on those in the bigger cities such as New York. How are some of those families coping in such confined environments? Can you imagine living in a small apartment with small children? It has got to be very challenging!
There comes a point where kids get restless, and just get fed up with staying in one place too long.
With many restrictions lifting, many families are going to be able to get out and about soon and that will certainly break up the summer months. When it gets cold again, I wonder what will happen if another outbreak happens in the winter months?
Here are some tips I found helped during our 3 month quarantine:
1. Separate Your Kids For Periods Of Time
Kids get sick of playing with each other. We have a collection of vintage books called “Help me be good” (It was a collection I had as a kid, and decided to hunt down the different sets on ebay and facebook for myself.) In the fighting book, it is mentioned that when kids fight, often times they need some time apart, and then after a period of time, to come back together. This sounds like a lousy tip, but honestly, try it, … it works! Having your own personal space, even for a short period of time can regroup your brain into interacting again. Its a breather in many respects.
2. Put Away Some Of The Toys
You would think more toys is better, right?
You would think this tip is too basic right?
Seasoned moms say this over and over again as something that works.
Think about anything creative for a moment. Scrapbooking for one. When you have too much to pick from, you end up getting overwhelmed, and you really cannot focus on putting together a great collage. When you have too much to pick from, your mind really never gets into that creative state where you are successful. I walk into my garage and when I have one or two projects to accomplish, it seems like I can do it very well. If I have endless projects to pick from, I end up staring at each piece, and I never get to work. Its the same with kids.
They throw all the toys around the house, and go from one thing to the next, and you will find they never really spend much time with one toy.
If you have containers on hand, throw the toys in there and just store them away. When you introduce them again… what ever period that may be, they will feel like brand new toys for your kids. This tip could apply to movies, games and so on.
3. Give Them Something To Look Forward To Do
This one can be a challenging tip, especially if you have more than one kid. For our oldest daughter, staying at home through quarantine meant that our regular playdates and visiting was cut off abruptly. Its especially hard for social personalities. Introverts like myself, … not so much.
For her we decided that on one particular day when her dad is free, she can play a video game that we ordered especially for her on play station 4 with him. There are very few kids games on there to pick from for young kids, but after searching, we found a paw patrol game that was age appropriate. She only gets to play it on a certain day, rather than anytime through the week. It breaks up the rhythm on the weekend.
You will have to figure out your child’s currency. What really gets them excited? You might have to think outside the box for something that is special for them.
4. Let Them Pick Out A Grocery Item
Who mostly does the grocery shopping in your house? Is it you? Likely the kids are not very much involved in shopping. Sound familiar? That was us too. It was another thing checked off our list just to get done… but the framework of what we picked never involved the kids.
With CV, we started putting our grocery list together online, and the family sat around. It was fun again to do shopping, and we gave our daughter a chance to select one special item just for her. I don’t know how that would work so well in a family of 5… but perhaps just one special treat where the kids pick it out, gives them some freedom of choice.
5. Go For A Drive
Depending on your restrictions, or the restrictions in the future will determine how you apply this tip.
I never really put this one into practice much. 3 months into being at home, I think the kids need a visual change of scenery. Going for a drive the other day, my kids were quiet, just taking in a different view. I found the next day, they did remarkably better. If you want to get really creative, print off some scenery bingo if you want to just stay in the car.
Going for a walk really broke up our days, but going for a drive I think would have been so much better.
6. Learn To Identify Frustration Before It Erupts Into More.
Likely fighting starts when frustration or boredom sets in, and the kids need to move on to a different activity. Being a mom is incredibly hard on its own, but being stationed in a house for long periods of time can be even more challenging. This is a tip I am learning to identify, because it stops tantrums and all that goes with it before it even happens.
7. Add Water
Let the kids take a bath in the middle of the afternoon. Put them in the tub with their Peppa pig house, and create an island of toys with a plastic foot stool. Water seems to grab kid’s attention more than anything. Fill the sink with some bubbles for a barbie pool party. Water seems to grab so many moms more time than anything else. Google – DIY Water Tables. You could possibly rotate plastic tubs – one filled with magnetic sand, another for water, and another filled with dry pasta.
8. Build A Fort
I had to accept that some days the house would be completely torn apart. As a kid, my parents allowed me to play in the kitchen cupboards as a pretend house. Doesn’t mess drive you batty? It does for me, but I also need to get over that. Let them use your dining room table as a fort, throw cushions, or what ever else to transform into a make believe get-away. Can you hang fabric in any way to make a tent? Save those large cardboard boxes, because its times like this when you really need them.
9. Have A Documentary Theme Every Day.
It doesn’t have to be complicated what so ever. I have a running list of one-word ideas of things to look up on youtube. As we look them up, I cross them off. Gymnastics held my daughters attention for 3 days. Shelter animals captured her attention for 2. Youtube contains so many free documentaries, – even if they only watch it for 10 minutes, – those mental sparks may allow them to keep busy creating things along that topic for the rest of the day.
10. Listen to read out loud books on Youtube
Chances are your kid has a particular obsession. Every kid does. They have watched a particular show many times, but how about read out loud books on youtube? Even if the youtube video is old, or its not as up to date to your taste, your child’s interest is front and center, and to them, that is all that matters. Read out loud books might spark more interest into reading books than watching the tv shows.
Bookmark playlists on a particular theme on the tool bar for easy access.
Stay healthy my friends!