Corona: Keeping parents out of jail

COVID 19. Working from home. Children too! Yikes! What are you going to do!?

Having our children home for the next few weeks can seem so daunting. Before placing our COVID 19 anxiety and work-from-home-parenting-stress on our children, let us not forget the privilege of spending time with them. A few quick activity ideas to keep the children out of mischief and keep you out of jail.

Stop stressing about academics

In the panic of keeping our homes liveable (and corona free), meeting work deadlines, and keeping children in some type of home based school routine, we forget that this is time we will never get back. So play! Play with your children as much as you can (tolerate). Read. Snuggle.

The days are long, but the years are short – Gretchen Rubin

I have so enjoyed my introduction to Korean drama by watching Sky Castle (available on Netflix). It provides a look inside the pressure we as parents place on our children to perform academically. While education is important, character development and curiosity is too!

Swop activity kits

Keep an eye open for the many online home-school options and activities provided by your school (e.g. on their Facebook page). I have heard of many creative ideas of spreading the mental load of keeping your child occupied.

My favorite, however, is sharing resources with other families. Nothing as fabulous as somebody else’s toys!During the COVID-19 crisis, I recommend that you only swop items that can be fully sanitised and only swop with families who are not potential germ carriers:

  • Do a busy bag swop
  • Swop toy boxes
  • Swop books

I have set up a group with other mothers who have children the same age (2 – 4 years). In the group, each mom takes responsibility for a day of the week. Each day requires a topic, craft, fine motor activity, gross motor activity, story, song, etc. In preparing the activity, you make enough items for all the children in the activity swop group. Once a week we hand out activities and you’re all set!

Keep your inspirational list up to date

Pinterest to the rescue! I recommend having an activity list on hand and updating it regularly. On my current list (I have a 2 year old son):

  • Paint with water and or paint (leaves, acorns, boxes, hands, feet, crafts, boxes, the pavement, everything!)
  • Music (dance, sing, percussion, musical chairs/statues)
  • Balloons (soccer, air hockey, sensory stress balls)
  • Masking tape (floor patterns, parking lot, hop scotch, jump over lines, target practice)
  • Play outside (swing, swim, jump, cycle, ball games, walk, insect hunting)
  • Fabric (teddy bear picnic, duvet fort, capes, dress up)
  • Paper (draw, stickers, glue, tear, cut, write, origami, paper planes, trace)
  • Water (wash the toys, ice, experiments, foam)
  • Sort (buttons/cars/cereal/blocks according to colour/shape/size)
  • Build (blocks, “life size” cardboard vehicles)
  • Boardgames (snakes and ladders, home made twister)

Use screen time wisely

There are times where the screen seems like the only option. Keeping your kids alive and yourself out of jail is more beneficial than the potential harms than controlled screen time. Most kids have a go to program, but mix it up a bit! Explore National Geographic for kids or YouTube clips about the insects you found outside or how an instrument works, etc.

The cure for boredom is curiosity. There is no cure for curiosity. – Ellen Parr

Take care of yourself

In an aeroplane you are told to put an oxygen mask on yourself before helping others. Do take time out for you where you do what you need to do in order to be a calmer, more attentive and patient parent. Children are resilient and bounce back. Don’t sweat the small stuff. Make decisions with the end in mind.