Updated: Mar 25
Take one Corona Virus , mix ( don't ) with Social distancing and a lockdown , add an over active toddler and kids at home from school and tech and work ( I have three teens ) Throw in the Irish weather... it is pissing down most days. And you have a recipe of sorts for a different kinds of disaster. For parents it is a new meaning to survival mode.
And as a disclaimer , Im not trying to take away from the very real situation that is going on all over the world. Just making light of challenges that we as parents will face now we are in locked in, in bad weather. I will be by no means offering any medical advice what so ever as I am not medically trained of any sort. I'm finding it hard to see wood from trees myself , on the internet with all the sudden experts and announcements and updates and opinions.
We may be entering in to Germ Warfare on a global scale, but us , parents have an added element of a completely different set of battles. Others get to binge on box sets from the couch and work from home. We have entered in to the realm of grizzly , annoyed, under you feet, with you all day , entertain me, children. Commence The Battle of Boredom.
I hope to give you ideas to get you through the coming days of trying to keep your family safe while also trying not to kill them yourselves when you are locked in together.
Screens , tv, phone, computers - you name it. They are your friend , use them and utilise them . All ages , a half hour here and there to break up the day is good for wee ones who are climbing the walls . Put on a favourite learning channel that has songs about colours and numbers , shapes , etc. Or my preference is a nature program for older ones, with both , at least they are learning while watching. There are so many free websites to get ideas for arts and crafts , how to use every day items like empty loo rolls and cereal packets in to a multitude of fun stuff . There is online lesson plans to keep up school work. Covering course work to homework tutorials and fun maths games and every facet of online learning. Download recipes and bake to your hearts content.
Your home is a fortress so make it one. Pull out all the blankets and make huts of the dining room table. Pretend the floor is made of lava or is water full of sharks and you have to get from point A to B without touching the floor. Make an assault course of the cushions and a tunnel and chairs. Let your kids climb on the furniture in the name of fun. A friend who is in lock down in Italy, timed her 4 yr old son racing around . The competitive spirit made him want to better his time all day. Slightly older ones, give them a mirror and get that walk the ceiling. The upside down , stepping over lights and through door ways is hours of fun. Trust me I did it as a kid .
Use the time to read, read and read. Read to wee ones, get older ones to read to you or have a half hour timed read to yourself each day. Sooner or later older kids will get hooked and lost in a book and bugging you to let them just finish this chapter. My friend again in Italy is getting her son to read out loud and videoing him to send to his cousins and they are doing the same. Just because they aren't in school doesn't mean that you cant advance their knowledge on your own.
Chores, get everything cleaned up. Not only to keep the germs at bay, but it is good to get everyone involved. Sort out the clothes that are too small , the toys that are too young for them now. Get them to wipe down the playroom with you , do the laundry with helpers, make it game to match socks. Even throw a few randoms in there. Sort the pantry out and in my case finally do a few of the jobs that have been on that list for a wee while. Like paint bathroom cabinet ! All those things you have been meaning to do , can get done with help, patience and you now have all the time in the world ( it seems ) to do it.
Make the scary stuff , fun if you can. Show them the cartoons that are made for them to understand if they are of the age too, why what is happening is happening. Water play in the sinks for the weenie ones. Mine loves to splash about and make bubbles with the soap as many times a day as we need to . Draw a smiley face or put a stamp on little hands and get to wash it off through out the day. Make goo with powdered soap and water ( recipe online ) and food colouring. Never too early or late to get kids in to good hygiene.
As said above, stock up on the arts and crafts you get inspiration for online. Glue, stickers, colouring books, paint, crepe paper, play dough, slime, get kits that make soap , ( handy ) and perfume, science experiments and build a car or plane. Get lego that makes something and let their imaginations run wild. Paint the windows or do a drawing for the outside to see when they pass ?
Get outside, exercise and fresh air is encouraged so find an excluded place and rug up and blow the cobwebs away. Beaches are great for that , a wood, walk along a river. Everyone will thank you even if they grumble as being cooped up is no fun. Run around the back yard for a bit. Put on wellies and jump in muddy puddles. We won't melt like sugar babies in the rain. Embrace the weather and make the most of it. When it is sunny , let them wash the car, paint the fence with either paint ( for ones who can ) or just big brushes in water buckets. Chunky chalk on drive ways is good fun. Draw a hopscotch or people outlines and colour in . All the rage is to have a rainbow displayed somewhere draw on one the driveway.
I know that our next couple of months are daunting and to be honest a little scary and a lot inconvenient ! But we can rally together while being apart and get everyone through this. Like Italy singing from the balconies to keep community and moral up , we will be singing in the rain ...