Thanks to current events, many of us are suddenly stuck at home with kids. School closures and “social distancing” have moms everywhere thinking “What in the world am I going to do with my kids?” And to be fair, keeping kids occupied and keeping our sanity will be more challenging than dealing with the actual virus itself for most of us. Keep reading to find out how to do more than just survive being home with your kids. Because the truth is, you can do more than just survive being home with your kids – you can actually thrive.
As a homeschooling mom, I’ve had lots of practice being with my kids 24/7. I love them so much, but having them with me all the time isn’t always sunshine and rainbows. Here are some of my best tips for thriving when you’re home with your kids.
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I have found that the times that make me the most frustrated as a stay at home mom are the moments when I’m trying to multitask. Let’s be real… that’s pretty much all the time. But one thing I’ve been working on is learning to single task.
The idea behind single tasking is to be full engaged in whatever activity you’re doing at the moment. It a simple concept, but it takes discipline and practice. I’ve also been practicing putting my phone in my “cell phone spot” and leaving it there (which is up high and out of sight) so that I’m not tempted to look at it all the time.
When you fully engage in one activity at a time you are able to think more clearly, work more efficiently, and connect with your children more deeply.
I have found that my children are much more likely to let me do work or housework with less interruptions if I have invested in them first. I have been practicing the 10-20-10 rule whenever possible. Basically, I try to engage in connecting play with them for 10 minutes in the morning, 20 minutes in the afternoon, and 10 minutes before bed. It doesn’t have to be complicated. For quick ideas on how to connect with your kids, check out this post about 16 Ways to Fill Your Child’s Love Tank.
Let Them Be Bored
As parents we often feel responsible to keep our kids entertained.
Guess what, it’s good for them to be bored.
Boredom fosters creativity and imagination. It fosters play. It encourages reading. It encourages exploration.
The first few days can be tough, but creativity is like a muscle. The more they exercise it, the stronger it gets.
If they need some help, you can help foster their creativity by pulling out a few toys or activities that don’t get played with often and set up “stations” or “centers.” Tell them that for the next thirty minutes those are the only toys they are allowed to play with, and see what happens.
Embrace the Mess
If your kids are going to be home and doing anything other than watching television, it’s going to make a mess.
Don’t avoid activities just because they may be messy.
Take reasonable measures to contain the mess, and set reasonable ground rules before engaging in particularly messy activities. Have kids take part in the clean up, and work in “clean up times” throughout the day. This teaches kids responsibility. But don’t discourage them from making messes.
Take Care of Your Own Needs
Staying home with kids is an adjustment – especially if you’re not used to being home with your kids all day. Give yourself some grace for the moments where you feel irritable.
Be in tune with your own emotional regulation and meet your own needs. For more on that topic, check out this post about Taming the Mommy Monster. For simple self care ideas that you can do, even when you’re stuck inside with kids check out this post: Simple Self Care Ideas You Can Do Today.
Balance rest with activity
Restless kids indoors can create chaos.
Overtired kids can produce meltdowns.
Make sure that you’re balancing times of rest with activity, even if you’re stuck at home.
It may be helpful to establish some sort of loose routine to provide some structure to your days. Kids thrive with structure and they may miss the structure and predictability of school.
Get Creative with Activities
Having a movie marathon is fun.. for a day… but after two or three days you’re going to have to start rotating in some fun activities. For ideas of activities to keep kids busy you can check out this post of 33 Rainy Day Activities or this post about Educational Resources for When Schools are Closed.
You can do more than just survive being home with your kids… you can thrive!
You have GOT THIS! I believe in you!
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