Global. Pandemic. Words I never thought I would use except when talking with my children about the history of the 1900s. In our state (and in many, many others), we are currently on “Stay at Home” orders, meaning we can only go out for essential items such as food and only essential jobs are allowed to continue. Many of the schools are stepping up to the plate with distant learning and even some preschools too, but the daunting task of staying sane at home with your kids and nothing to do can feel overwhelming.
With the recent announcement that schools will remain closed for the remainder of the school year, staying sane at home probably feels even more daunting to you now.
Here are a few tips to help you in staying sane at home with your preschoolers right now:
Create structure. Ask your preschool if they will share the typical flow of the day (or maybe you have it saved from back-to-school night). Remember to balance active with non-active activities. There are also some schedules floating around social media and Pinterest as well, which are a great place to start. And there are a TON of free resources available such as virtual field trips and online learning apps. Click here for more ideas on activities you can do at home with your kids.
Set your expectations. My kids and I had a family meeting and they helped with Step 1. I wanted them to be accountable for when our educational screen time was, and which sections of the day that I would need them to be able to entertain themselves so I could still work from home, too.
I also took this opportunity to remind them that food would only be available at snack and meal times. Outside time could be things like taking a walk on the beach or going to the skate park (sorry, kids, playgrounds are still closed!), provided they do the rest of the work without fussing. Oh, and they have to clean up before moving on, the same rule they have at their school.
Be easy on yourself. Remember this is uncharted territory for all of us. If your structure and activities don’t pan out, or your kids are on their screens too long, IT IS OKAY. Sure it might rain, so go have a dance party in the rain. You can take a warm bath immediately following and time is on your side with squeezing in an extra load of laundry.
Don’t forget to snuggle. We are going to have an even greater challenge to be present with ourselves and our families, especially in staying away from social media and off our phones. It is time for us to reconnect with each other, use technology as a tool only, and SLOW DOWN.
Remember that this too shall pass. We might not know when, so why not do everything we can to make the best of it?