Plenty of Americans will find themselves spending a lot of time at home with their kids over the next few weeks as the COVID-19 pandemic plays out. And I wanted to provide you and your family with my Ultimate CoronaVirus Family Stay-At-Home Guide. Included are things you and your family can do together as well as alone. We should view this time as an ‘unanticipated staycation’. And most importantly, I would suggest you plan your days out so that you (and especially your family) don’t get bored. You should also schedule some alone time so you’re not spending every moment with your family.
‘Time flies’ – that’s the saying. But in this situation, it can go slow and your days WILL be long!
As the coronavirus pandemic spreads, self-isolation or quarantine is one of the key strategies in “flattening the curve” of infection rates. These 14-day isolation periods involve individuals or families staying within their homes, and not having physical contact with those outside. With the prospect of school and daycare closures, as well as workplaces shutting down or moving to remote working, many more families around the world face the prospect of precisely the kind of long days other families are already experiencing.
“With routines disrupted and families thrown into close quarters, cabin fever is a real danger. It is exacerbated by predispositions and thought processes and can manifest,as anxiety, extreme frustration, depression, or low mood. The University of Melbourne psychology professor and parenting expert Prof Lea Waters AM says self-isolation can hit three critical components of mental health: our sense of autonomy, relatedness (a sense of being connected to others) and competency (feeling effective).”
ULTIMATE CORONAVIRUS FAMILY STAY-AT-HOME GUIDE
Now for the good news! Here are some activities that you and your family can partake in during these extraordinary, stressful, and unsettling times, to survive not only the virus, but each other:
- TALK ABOUT IT | At the very start, I’d suggest your family sit down and have a discussion at the issue, what everyone expects, and what they want to accomplish during this time. ‘What do you think will be the biggest challenges? What are the strengths that we each have as an individual family member that can help out?” Discussing concerns and expectations about the quarantine, and what role each person can play to make it better, can be helpful. “Forewarned is forearmed.”
- SET UP STRUCTURE | Maintaining a routine will be important but it need not be strict. “Routines are always helpful for people to see an endpoint. Routine is critical to not going “bonkers
- INDOOR PICNIC | Surely you’ve gone grocery shopping right? Well a couple of days a week, pull out a blanket, prep some quick and tasty food, and get the music going. It can be slightly elaborate, but it doesn’t have to be. And let the kids help you set up!
- FAMILY GAME AND PUZZLE NIGHT | I think we all have at least five or six board games, card, and/or jigsaw puzzles. Playing a different game together will add laughter to your day.
- PAINTING | Not everyone has acrylic paint and paint boards at home. If it isn’t mandatory in your city/state, run to your favorite art store and grab a few bottles of paint (under $2) and inexpensive paint boards. You can make it a ‘Sip & Paint’ type of fun…sip on your favorite mocktails and everyone paint the same thing from the same simple photo.
- MOVIE TIME | My family LOVES Netflix (I shared a few binge favorites here) and Hulu and I’m sure yours do too! Set times aside for movie/sitcom time…together and alone. Just don’t stay on screens all the time. It could be tempting for people to just sit in front of the TV for two weeks. The novelty of that will wear off quite quickly. When people withdraw or stop doing their normal activities, it can have a pretty profound effect on their mood.Reliance on streaming services or the internet may not be practical. Telecommunications networks are preparing for a surge in people working from home. America’s networks are resilient, but will come under pressure. I would like to be confident that our networks are able to manage a significant increase in network traffic as a result of people being at home. But beware, although depending on what eventuates, there may be times when the service is slower than usual. So don’t go crazy on the Netflix, and have a robust mobile data plan as a backup, if you’re likely to need to complete urgent work.
- TIK TOK | I see my daughter and her friends ‘tiking’ or ‘toking’ or whatever they call it. It would fun to learn and Tik Tok with them.
- TAKE PICTURES| Make memories together during this time!
- PARTY GAMES | A couple of nights a week, have a party! And what do you do at parties? PLAY GAMES!!! Fun games such as Who Am I?, card games, Two Truths & a Lie, and Never Have I Ever. You can even make up your own games or incorporate board games.
- COOK & BAKE TOGETHER | Most kids enjoy helping mom cook or bake. This will ensure ‘don’t try so hard’ bonding.
- CLEAN THE HOUSE | Most kids don’t enjoy helping mom clean. LoLoL. But don’t let them slack or get away with not doing so. Have them make their beds every morning. Make a chart assigning daily chores to everyone. Even though they wont enjoy the process, they’ll feel good knowing they’re confined to a clean house…helping everyone’s emotional and mental well-being.
- HAVE SPIRITUAL, DEVOTIONAL AND/OR INSPIRATIONAL SESSIONS | Perhaps you could start a couple of mornings with a session. Also great for everyone’s emotional, mental, and spiritual well-being.
- SCHOOL WORK | Even if your kids’ school didn’t send home work, it is up to YOU to make sure your kids are up-to date on their school work. There is plenty of online sites to keep the mind busy. Or you can create your own learning session. Just make sure you set time aside daily for this.
- FAMILY BOOK CLUB | Everyone should read a book at the beginning of the week and discuss it at the end of the week…over tea!
- ROAST HOT DOGS AND SING SONGS | Make use of your front and back yard. Get the fire pit going and roast hot dogs, marshmallow, or seasoned diced chicken and sing fun songs!
- LEARN A NEW HOBBY OR SKILL | Now is the perfect time to learn a new hobby or skill for yourself, but especially for your kids. Teach your kid how to change a tire and/or oil, sew on a button, how to do laundry, basic first aid, etc.
- PLAY MUSIC | If you or any of your kids play instruments, put on a concert…showcasing each person’s skill. Or play music from Pandora, Spotify, or whatever you have on your phone, and dance!
- EXERCISE | Keeping physically active is critical to boosting mood: “Frustration and boredom can come when kids are not getting the opportunities to be physically active.” Creative exercise ideas, like setting up an obstacle course in the backyard, could occupy both parents and kids. The Diener family in Italy break up their day with some micro-exercises, such as jumping jacks, running up stairs or playing basketball and soccer.
- ALONE TIME | Try to think of things your family can do by alone. It can be hard for families who are used to all going off to their own activities being forced into this intense time. That’s why when you’re on family vacations, you’ll sometimes see kids squabbling – they’re not used to being in the same space.Another critical component of alone time/good mental state is feeling connected to others. This time, technology is our friend. Connecting and making time for friends on social media or over the phone will be critical for adults and kids alike. Also important is “reciprocal social support” – reaching out to others to make sure they are OK.Kids are used to highly social environments and will also need to connect with friends. Older children could create themes on Instagram or Snapchat where they can share their experiences and tips with friends. With younger children, it might be scheduling in some video calls with friends and family.
- SELF-CARE | I try to set time aside every other weekend for a face or hair mask and extra self-care time. Clean out your beauty drawers, pull out the sheet mask and give yourself a mani or pedi. Self-tan and be ready to come out of this quarantine glowing, Hunni! This can even be time to cleaning your makeup brushes.
Honestly, I would say just enjoy this time with your kids and family, but make it a little bit more fun. There’s not a lot of time where we as parents get to sit down and just enjoy each other’s company.
Hopefully this CoronoVirus Family Stay-at-Home Guide will come in handy and some of these of these activities are useful to you and your family. Please take the necessary cautions to protect your family: Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds often, use hand sanitizer gel and lotion often, use tissue or the sleeve of your clothing when sneezing and coughing, stay home, and put distance between yourself and others IF you must go out. REMEMBER: The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person. The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus.
I would love to hear some things you plan on doing during this unprecedented time and add them to this list. It’s wonderful seeing how everyone is really coming together helping one another and sharing positivity. It’s what I hope to remember from this unusual time in history.
Thank you so much for reading. And as always, have a beautiful day. XOXO, Candy