Under normal circumstances, juggling family and work is challenging. Now let’s throw in a worldwide pandemic where the country is on a stay at home self-quarantine order. This means no school or daycare and no playdates. In short, it’s now an even bigger challenge. We may find ourselves taking even more deep breaths; we may find the patience tested; and happy hour may come knocking on the door even earlier than normal these days.
Let’s take a trip back to 2019. You got the kids ready for school, put in a productive day of (mostly) uninterrupted work, picked up the kids, and finished off the day with your cherished family time. Now let’s fast forward back to 2020 where every day is Groundhog’s Day. You are now the primary caregiver, school teacher, full-time employee, and housekeeper. It’s a lot to handle. I bet after these first few weeks of helping your child with algebra, you have a newfound respect for teachers!
Juggling all these roles is hard and many parents feel as if they are struggling to keep up with the grind. We get it. We are working parents with spirited 2.5 and 6-year-olds. It’s hard to explain to a toddler you need to work and they need to give you extended periods of “quiet time.” We are doing our best to keep our children happy, entertained, educated, and most importantly alive!
However, through all of the challenges and the newly defined roles and schedules, we have found ourselves in a brand new space of gratitude. Last year our family had been running at full speed — sprinting between kids’ activities, work, exercise, family time, social time, meals, more work, and more activities.
While we miss much of those endeavors, at our current pace, we are fully embracing the ability to connect with one another more closely, we are getting to see our children interact, grow, and learn more, and we are truly bonding as a family on a deeper level.
With some of our extra time, we have managed to compile a list of activities to do with your kids during quarantine so they are not glued to their computers or constantly opening the fridge for snacks. We hope this will save a few parents from losing their minds while trying to deal with their cooped-up kids.
A great way to combine art class and exercise is to write letters to classmates. Email parents to ask for classmates’ addresses. Design a nice card for them and hand-deliver the letter to their mailbox on bikes.
Organize A Stuffy Hunt
Coordinate a stuffy hunt with neighbors. Come up with a day when neighbors put stuffies in their windows and kids can go house-hunting looking for planted stuffies. Websites such as Next Door are a great way to get the message out. Or you can organize the hunt the old fashioned way by putting flyers in neighbor’s mailboxes with your hatched out plan.
Free Little Library
Organize a Free Little Library day where you bike from library to library. Make a map ahead of time of all the libraries and plan on visiting a handful. There are usually several within biking distance. Once you reach one, cross it off your map and head to the next.
Create A Time Capsule
We are living in weird times. Future generations will be reading about this in history books. Why not capture it with a time capsule? Use a mason jar or waterproof container to put in special photos, letters, newspaper clippings (if you have them), and objects.
A treasure hunt should stave off the “I’m bored” comments for a while. Pick a theme, pull out some old Halloween costumes, plan your clues, plant some items around the house and backyard, and send them on the hunt!
As long as you keep a wide open distance from others, get outside. This could be going for walks, setting up relays in your yard, bike rides, having picnics, or just hanging out in the sunshine. Getting outdoors is good exercise and great for your mental state. The sunshine is also a natural vitamin for your immune system.
Throw A Zoom Party
Gather your closest friends or family and throw a Zoom party. Zoom is a video app where you can virtually meet with others by audio or video. Make it more fun by having a themed Zoom party such as fancy Friday where everyone dresses up. It may be the first time in weeks you will put on normal clothes. Pro tip: you can set virtual backgrounds such as space, San Francisco, or the set of the Simpsons.
When you are out of activities in your bag, here are some of our favorite online resources. Many companies are generously offering free 30 day trials. Now is the perfect time to expand your mind and learn something new.
Learning Sources – free for 30 days
Just For Fun
Let’s be honest. We do acknowledge that there are times when we struggle to follow the American Association of Pediatrics screen recommendations for children as well as the CDC’s amount of recommended alcohol beverages for adults, and that’s okay! We are doing the best we can in odd circumstances. Toys may be everywhere, you may miss a few deadlines, and mayhem may be your new normal. Amidst all the chaos, we hope some good things have come out of it as well. Maybe you are bonding with your family, getting outside more, connecting digitally with old friends or teaching your littles how to bake. Whatever it might be, amid chaos, we are all in this together and we hope you can find some joy in these trying times. We are here for you and please reach out if you would like to connect!