Top tips for surviving self isolation: Family
Ok, there’s no more school. S**t just got real.
My family and I been self isolating this week. Not out of choice but because the baby was displaying two of the three symptoms and I would never forgive myself for infecting the older couple next door or the rest of the school. More importantly, they would never forgive me!
I have been at home with all three children (and my husband) in the house all the time. It’s frustrating and, admittedly, stressful at times. But I’m trying to be pragmatic and approach this time in the same way I would approach the school holidays. With structure, fun, support and…iPads!
We’re learning fast so I wanted to share my top tips for surviving self isolation. We asked our communities for their top tips on how to work effectively and keep children entertained and you came back with so much that we decided to do a mini series themed Work, Family and You. Here is the Family instalment.
No parent would ever choose to stay inside with their children for 14 days. We can just about cope with the school holidays but then we have activities, play dates and plans. In these unprecedented times when we are being told not to socialise and to socially distance, what do we do? We’ve been speaking to lots of you experienced parents for your best tips on how to survive self-isolation and school closures.
Plan, plan, plan
As much as the school run can be a pain, having timings and routine to stick to gives you purpose and control. Creating this structure during the school holidays or isolation periods may help.
So, get to grips with the logistics and put everything into a calendar which your partner or family members can access.
We sat down as a family and talked about what they should do each day, how Jess and John could structure work and what rules we should have to try and remain a happy family (no licking each other being of the utmost importance!). We came up with this, which has been shared across our social channels and you are welcome to take and make your own.
Everyone’s plans will differ but having some structure in place feels more reassuring to everyone, especially young ones who like routine. We have found that knowing you have a few hours to yourself each day to work or exercise has been great for our mental wellbeing.
This is as important for the children as it is for you.
We all know how much energy little children have and they’re never quite as exhausted by a day at home as they are out of the house. We’ve found some great YouTube videos if you search ‘kids exercise’. I particularly liked the Pop Sugar workout as we could all do it together (I did it twice!) and it felt like a proper workout for everyone.
Cosmic Yoga is a firm family favourite that was flagged numerous times on Instagram by many of our lovely followers!.
For very young children, Sleeping Bunnies is one we have played over and over and over and over and over again.
Come up with some boredom busters for when times are really tough.
Sarah, one of our freelancers, has just made a boredom jar with her children. “A boredom jar is where each child has to come up with some things to do when boredom hits. This was an activity in itself and the responsibility is with the children to come up with things to keep them occupied, which is great! Plus it keeps the rage at bay when someone says they are bored!“.
When we knew we were going into self isolation I bought a few treats for less than £5, things like a magazine, moji pops and some glitter paint. I keep these in a bag hidden away and when they have been particularly good or are going particularly crazy, I bring out a treat. Some call it bribery. Others call it wisdom.
Yes we are supposed to limit screen time. But the schools are closing, we’re not allowed out and we have children to entertain.
So don’t be too hard on yourself if you give the children extra screen time. It’s ok.
We’ve been given lists and lists of online resources but for now have only included the ones people have really raved about or my children have tested. We have set up a Pinterest board for you to follow which we will continue to add ideas to:
- Khan Academy Kids
- Peppa World (app) and PeppaWorld website
- CBeebies Playtime Island (app)
- Hopster (app)
- Coding Safari (app)
- Edoki Academy Preschool (app)
- OSMO (expensive upfront but great as it’s physical play as well as ipad)
- Red Ted Art
- National Geographic Kids
- Paw Print Badges
- DK Find Out
Get outside at every opportunity
If you have a garden, use it. Get outside at every opportunity. If you don’t, open your windows. Fresh air is good for the mind, the soul and the lungs! Whilst we’re being asked to stay away from other people, we’re not being asked to remain in our homes at all time. Exercise and fresh air is advised so take advantage of that.
Don’t go to the park and allow your children to lick the swings. But do let them out on their scooter somewhere quiet away from other people. Even half an hour a day will be transformative. Take it from someone who’s approaching a week of self isolation!
Finally, keep talking your friends
Just because you’re not supposed to be mixing with other families too much, don’t lose the precious relief that comes from your friends in the same situation. They got you through the first 6 months of having a baby and they’ll get you through this. Plus it’s always good to have someone to moan about your partner to!