Inside: 8 tips to help you stay calm with the kids at home all day while you are sheltering in place.
Stay calm with the kids at home all day? Is that even possible?
My mind hit the rewind button and I was transported to last summer. It was just me flying solo with the kids every day while my husband was at work.
Being cooped up like a chicken in a cage full of chirping chicks finally reached its limit.
I remembered how my heart raced as I ran out the door one evening just to get away. “Just five minutes of peace.” The thought kept darting around in my head like a scared rabbit. “Just five minutes of peace.”
I Flew the Coop
I left the chirping chicks and my responsibilities of taking care of them behind with their father. My feet didn’t stop pounding the gravel on our long country driveway until I could feel the tension in my neck subside.
Knowing my children were safe with daddy, I slowed down and took some time to collect my thoughts as I walked slowly back home.
I reflected on all the pressures of taking care of the kids that had finally made Mt. Mama erupt.
Running away from the problem was not the best solution. I realized there had to be a better way and I implemented some strategies that helped me ride out the rest of the summer as cool as a cucumber.
A Different Scenario
This year, it’s a different situation. My children will be home all day for several more months than usual. While I am excited for the chance to spend more time with my young children, the current circumstances in our world add more stress and anxiety than normal.
Last summer, I could load up the kids and head to the pool for a chance for us to cool off. This year, we are sheltering in place and that means the only change of scenery we have is to step outside for a while.
I’ve had to implement several new strategies to make sure that I don’t succumb to the stress and pressure of being home all day with my kids in a time of uncertainty in the world.
If you want to stay calm with the kids at home all day, I recommend you try these tips. They have made a difference in our household and I know they will in yours as well.
1) Implement a Schedule
We’ll start off with the most important secret to ensuring you stay calm with the kids at home all day. Make a schedule and stick to it. Set times for when you wake up, eat meals, go to bed and spend time outdoors looking for bugs and worms with your son.
If possible, allow time for exercise and time to be alone in your schedule. Schedule time for your kids to play, do their school work and chores.
We all thrive and do better with a routine. Your life at home will be much smoother if you can establish a schedule and routine for everyone in your family.
2) Limit the News
Everywhere you look right now the news is overwhelming! While it is necessary and unavoidable to access the news, you can avoid being overwhelmed by limiting it. Limit yourself to checking it no more than twice a day.
Just by limiting your intake of what is on the television, radio, internet and or in the newspapers will do a lot in altering your overall mood and stress level.
3) Find a Sounding Board
I texted a good friend of mine during the first week of being home with the kids. I told her that she would probably be receiving a lot more texts from me because I would need some adult interaction, a place to vent and someone to help me stay calm when my toddler gives her doll a bath in the toilet.
Communicating with another adult, especially one who is experiencing similar circumstances can be an effective way to share frustrations, problems and solutions.
Knowing that there is someone you can talk to who understands what you are going through is essential in helping you maintain your sanity in a time of uncertainty.
4) Stay Active
Most of us are currently ordered to stay home. I live in a small house and my movement has slowed down considerably.
That is not good for my health and well-being. Thankfully, we live in the country and there is a lot of area to get outside and move around. I try to take advantage of this and get outside at least once a day.
You more than likely have more time on your hands now, so finding the time for exercise won’t be as difficult as it was a month or two ago.
If you can’t go outside, try exercise videos online. There are videos for every fitness level and interest. Just do something to stay active!
5) Take Time for Yourself
Before being sequestered at home, I used to drive to work every day. I would encounter lots of vehicles on the highways and streets. They had a very important job and carried precious cargo.
I also saw many cars at the gas station. That’s because when they ran out of fuel, they were no longer able to perform the duties they needed to do.
They had to be refueled in order to get back on the road and carry out the needful task of transportation.
As a mother, I have the important job of carrying the load of my children, spouse, household and career. Now, I also have to educate my children and keep them occupied all day.
Just like a vehicle, I will run out of fuel if I don’t take the time to fill up my tank.
Take time for yourself so you can refuel. Being at home with your family full time means it will be more difficult for you to find the time and space to have time alone.
Make it a goal to spend at least half an hour by yourself at least every other day. Even if it is taking a long soak in the tub. You deserve it!
6) Divvy Up the Chores
My children are two and four, but they already have chores. These include feeding the cats, carrying the folded towels to the bathroom and setting and clearing the table.
My husband helps out with everything from laundry to cooking. He really does a great job doing whatever he sees needs to be done.
You can’t do it all and you shouldn’t be expected to. Every person living in your house has a responsibility to help.
If your family complains about helping with household tasks, remind them they are helping you have time to spend with them doing fun things.
7) Keep the Kids Busy
Chores are not only good for helping you accomplish household tasks. They also are great for keeping kids busy.
Your older children might be doing schooling online now and that will occupy quite a bit of their day.
Your younger children can also spend a limited amount of time learning via apps or learning websites. Some of them are offering free access or have greatly reduced the price.
Plan at least one hands on activity a day. Check out this post about simple activities to do with your kids.
8) Get Out and Play!
When the chores, schooling and play dough sculpting are finished, take time to get out of the house and play. Escaping the house provides you with a change of scenery and some fresh air. Something your mind and body desperately crave.
If you have the room, play some outdoor games with your family. Have a picnic in your backyard or camp out some warm night.
The opportunities to relax and bond with your family are actually quite plentiful right now if you take advantage of them.
Calm, Cool and Collected
The chirping chicks are home all day for the next several months. I am not going to say it will always be easy and chaos free. But, this time I won’t be flying the coop because I know what I need to do to stay calm with the kids at home all day.