This is going to be a winter like no other. You figured out how to make it through the stay-at-home orders in the spring, but doing so in the middle of winter, where getting outside is much more difficult, is going to be a bigger challenge. If childcare centers and schools are closed and traveling is limited, this is going to be a very long winter. And Winter is Coming. (Sorry, I couldn’t resist!)
I’m a psychologist and a mother of three young children, so I understand what many of you are trying to wrap your head around. Prior to 2020, there were very few days when we didn’t get out of the house to do something, so months cooped up in the house feels suffocating and scary. In this blog post, I wanted to share a few tips and suggestions to help get through this next wave of staying at home.
2. Keep a schedule.
Schools and daycares create environments for children where they know exactly what to expect. You can mirror this at home with schedules, even if they all take place at your house.
Some of the things to incorporate:
Find ways to get some movement and burn off some energy together, and everyone will be happier and sleep better. Impromptu dance parties and doing exercise together are some creative ways to get physical activity.
Getting outside at least once a day, either walking around the neighborhood or enjoying the fresh air while the kids play in the backyard. It is hard to be cooped up in the house, and a change in scenery can help all of your moods tremendously.
3. Plan Ahead.
I have found that if I spend a little time planning ahead, things go much better in just about every area! There are some awesome blogs and companies that have great ideas for home activities. Some of my favorites include:
Kiwi crates—these activity boxes can be purchased in monthly subscriptions or also independently, and they have been awesome for my kids. Each box includes an age-appropriate activity, many of which are STEM, with a little booklet with more related information for them to learn. The fact that my girls are super-excited about STEM activities and growing confident in their ability to work on circuits and robotics makes me very happy. Along with their paid boxes, the website has a ton of other ideas and suggestions for at-home activities that families can do at home. Check out https://kiwico.com for more information.
4. Find the Positive
Finally, make sure you are finding the good in things. If you and your kids are only thinking about negative things, that’s all you (they) will see. Make it a daily practice to identify positive things or things you and your children are grateful for each day—this is great to do as a family activity. Older children and teens may also benefit from keeping a gratitude journal—at the end of the day, thinking through things that went well or that they are grateful for. That helps them revisit the day and think about the positive things, and also gives you a whole list of things to remember that are good. If children are having trouble sleeping, it might be a good way to end the day on a positive note.
Try to create a space for some daily one on one quality time with your children or develop a daily ritual. Playing a game together after dinner or telling stories at bedtime may be the best part of your children’s day. For many kids, the chance to spend more time with their family at home may result in the upcoming weeks and months being a positive memory.