So you’re stuck at home now…alone…with your kids. How do you deal? Are they driving you crazy yet? When the initial panic of the situation has settled and your brain has finally realized that this might be the new norm, it’s time to create a plan to make lock down more fun for everyone. I’ve got some ideas to get you moving in the right direction.
Make a list
Take 30 minutes to sit down and make a list for each child of the things you’d like them to accomplish each day. In my family’s case, teachers have sent over educational links of things they can be working on. For each child, a lot of those things are the same things. In addition to the education, I need them doing chores at home + getting themselves ready each day as a routine self care practice. I’d like them to be taking their vitamins, eating their meals, and exercising each day. Write it all out.
Implement a system that will work
There are so many systems you can have in place. I’ve always found that charts work best for my kids. I can’t tell you how many different charts I’ve come up with since they were little. The charts don’t always last long term unless I’m consistent with it. This time around, I have chosen to take all those activities and make Bingo Cards for each child. I laminated each board and use bingo chips for this activity.
I also printed blank bingo cards and laminated them. As we think of other activities to do, we just write them in with a dry erase marker. Some of the other activities have been to do a “Zoom Conference Call” with other classmates whom my kids are missing. They can do a show & tell together or just chat about what they’ve been doing. Be sure each child knows how to mute their line so everyone isn’t talking at once. A parent will need to supervise if it’s a big group.
Have them “Marco Polo” friends and family wishing them well at this time. A quick video chat gives comfort to so many people at this time of isolation. Download the “Marco Polo App”, and start communicating with people this way. If it get’s out of hand, just jump on as the parent and put some guidelines in so they aren’t on your phone all day. Just a quick 10 minutes each day. Check the responses at certain times during the day.
Memorize scriptures or other church related content. In my case, our primary president dropped off things for the kids to memorize and work on. By now, you know my stance on teaching your kids a spiritual practice.
Join the Facebook Group “Coronavirus Parents”. I’m getting so many fun ideas to implement at home.
Build an obstacle course in your backyard (or inside)
Put together an obstacle course for the kiddos. How fun would it be for them to have some fun jumping over and ducking under things (in a safe way). Kids like to be challenged so make this obstacle course however you like and according to your child’s age. This can be indoors or outdoors accordingly.
Backyard Scavenger Hunt
Scavenger hunt in backyard (or park if you’re not quarantined to home). One of their tasks could be to look for certain objects at the park or backyard. Older kids might roll their eyes and think this is dumb, but just tell them it’s part of their daily curriculum. My child started to do it, but got distracted by the fun he was having with his sister on the playground. I loved that they were getting along and using their imaginations to make up games. I almost didn’t care that they weren’t working on their scavenger hunt books.
Printable coloring books explaining the virus
Download and print a Covibook to teach your kids what the virus is in a fun way the kids will understand.
And THIS cute coloring book of “What’s happening now” – which also teaches young children about the virus.
Ideas for young children
Ideas for young children – A 9 page document of ideas to do with young children.
ABCmouse.com – When my kids were really young, they would get on abcmouse.com each day for a learning activity.
Virtual Field Trips (yes, you can go to Mars or the Great Wall of China at this time)
Start a garden
Plant a milk jug garden. Now is a good time to teach them about growing their own food. We have really enjoyed our garden. The lettuce and Swiss chard are taking over as well as the purple cabbage, but I am thrilled that anything is growing at all. It’s so good for kids to get their hands dirty and get to work in the garden. Teach them how to cut it and bring it inside if they’re old enough. Show them how to make a green smoothie or cook something with what they brought inside. Farm to table at it’s finest.
Get sidewalk chalk and color inspirational messages in your driveway and sidewalk
Mosaic Stain glass art using painters tape and sidewalk chalk
Free drawing classes from famous illustrators – Older kids
Pokemon Origami – Older Kids
Watch, listen, learn
For littles, watch “Creative Galaxy” on prime video
Listen to FREE audible books for kids – While school is on pause, kids can listen for FREE.
TEDed – Ted Tv wants to send you something educational each day
Coronavirus storytelling – some great stories written by parents. I even entered my story “Cyrus & the Virus” – I’ll share this at the end of the post.
What if the kids won’t stop fighting? Awwww this is a tricky one right? Wrong. As the parent, you have control over this situation. I need to constantly remind myself of this. Once the fighting starts, I put one child in their bedroom, while the other child works alone. First on cleaning up the house, then on a project. They switch places after 30 minutes. The other child comes out and I put him/her to work while the other is in their bedroom hopefully reading, playing quietly, or napping.
If they really want to fight, schedule it in. Put some rules around it as the parent, and watch them wrestle. If you schedule this time in for your kids, they most likely won’t even want to fight because it cuts into their free time.
I think sometimes we forget that WE are the authority. And that doesn’t mean we have to raise our voices and be mean. It just means there are consequences to actions. And if you don’t follow through on those consequences…well…your child will walk all over you, you’ll end up raising your voice, and this whole lock down thing will feel like such a burden. But you’ve got this mama. Let their fighting work in your favor. If your house is anything like mine, you can easily find things for them to clean.
What you can and cannot control
There are so many things you can control amidst what you can’t control.
What if you – the parent – get’s sick?
Here is a great article to read up on, just in case you get sick as the parent. Do you know what your next steps are? Who takes care of the kids now? Read “How to care for kids if you’re sick with Covid-19.”
This is your time
Now that I’ve given you a lot of great resources to check out, what I really want to say to you is this… It’s your time, right here, right now, to teach your kids the skills you really want them to have. Education aside – what skills do you think will serve your child best as an adult? For me, I’m thinking cooking skills, sewing (if even just a button on a shirt), establishing a love for nature, cleaning (especially after themselves), growing their own food, serving others and being aware and mindful of those around them, meditating, exercising, handwriting, being creative (art projects), using a grill, starting a fire, setting up a tent, reading, playing an instrument.
What I don’t believe will benefit them as adults
Notice my list didn’t include playing video games, texting friends, scrolling social media or watching t.v. What will serve my children in the long term as adults, is moving into action. Problem solving. Managing their brain. Survival skills. Self defense skills. Making sufficient money to support their family. Saving money. Finding joy in creation (hobbies). Developing a spiritual practice. Connecting with people (social skills).
Its true that we need to let our kids evolve into who they are, but think about it…if I just sit back and let my kid evolve into what he likes, he’ll be a video gamer and a junk food eater. What kid doesn’t like to kick back for as long as they can get away with it and play electronics and have a bag of doritos and candy? Although I’ve taught my kids healthy habits, they’re no different from other kids in the world. The natural tendency for us all is to do what feels good and resist pain. Seek pleasure. Our kids’ brains are right on track with that my friends, as are all of ours. But kids need guidance until they turn into adults and move out. Even then, they’ll probably need a little guidance from us.
Our greatest and hardest job
Our greatest and hardest job is being a parent. We’re the ones who need to be consistent at giving them that guidance through structure and routine. This isn’t to say that we don’t allow them free time, but it’s to help them experience ALL of life, the good and the bad. When life turns on it’s head, like it is with the virus, our kids will be prepared. I can’t emphasize this enough…Routine and structure IS the best gift we can give to them. And they won’t always like it. In fact, you might feel like its tearing your relationship apart. In my opinion, this is when you need to keep at it the most. Assure them you love them & this is why you’re teaching them these skills. Don’t get caught up in trying to be the “cool mom or dad”. Cool mom’s and dad’s discipline their kids.
What do you truly want them to know?
So think seriously for a second…when the virus has come and gone, and life is back to normal, what kinds of extracurricular activities or programs will serve your child best in order to develop the skills they need, should this happen again when they’re adults and have families of their own?
Will you put them in boy scouts, martial arts, or cooking classes? How cool would it be to put them in a class that helps manage their brain and emotions? An emotional adulthood class. This is called life coaching for kids, and I can help you with that. And there are definitely podcasts and Ted Talks on the subject you can have them listening to on a regular basis. Go over to your podcast app, and listen to “The Warrior Kid Podcast” if you haven’t yet. Read those books together too – ‘The way of the warrior kid’. What you and your child will learn from those books is EXACTLY what you wan them to learn about becoming a better person. A more disciplined person. Doing the hard stuff.
Don’t forget about you
As you’re thinking about all this for your child, think about yourself. How are you as the parent becoming more disciplined? Are you learning new skills and refining the ones you already have? Do you spend your time scrolling social media, or are you engaged in a project that challenges your brain? Do you over eat, over drink, or just eat a lot of junk food? Are you setting an example of good health for your kids? The time to change is right now. This isn’t the time to sit back and wait for the virus to move on. You can become your very best self today, right now, by committing to yourself to do something. Something that uplifts your soul. Go build something, sew something, craft something, learn something, read something, clean something, declutter a space in your home. Go create! Stay in creation mindset. You wanna kick cabin fever? Stay in creation mindset and get to work.
Now I’ll read you the story I wrote for kids about the coronavirus.
Cyrus and the virus – by Heather Mitchell
Cyrus was happy, his friends were all cool
But then one day they shut down his school
He didn’t understand about all the fuss
He missed his friends & riding the bus.
Parents talked of the virus, Cyrus didn’t understand
Why were all schools and sports stadiums banned?
Was everyone dying, Cyrus wanted to know
Watching the news only made panic grow.
“Will we be okay?” Cyrus asked dad & mom
“Of course my boy” they seemed quite calm
The world can feel scary and full of pain.
That’s why it’s important to manage your brain.
“Manage my brain? What does that mean?
I’m only eleven, I’m still a tween.”
The time is perfect, here’s what you do
Take a deep breath and find what’s true.
You’re here right now, you’re healthy, you’re okay
You have what you need to live day by day
We have food & water, a roof over our heads
We’re safe, we’re together with nice warm beds
Toys to play with and movies to watch
Online education is really top notch
Your friends are just a phone call away
Check to see if the virus is at bay
It might seem scary when you go to the store
and the shelves are empty of toilet paper and more
When the news brings fear, don’t take the bait
Go somewhere silent and meditate.
Deep breaths in, deep breaths out
Quiet your head, release all the doubt
Bring your brain back to what is true
You’re here, you’re okay, your family loves you.
You’ll have what you need in the moment you need it
The hardest part is to truly believe it.
Keep showing your brain there’s no need to panic
Control your thoughts, you’re the master mechanic.
Then do what you know will be the best
Drink plenty of water and get lots of rest
Strengthen your body by eating good foods
Exercise daily to lighten your mood
Now is the time to boost immunity
Become a strength in your community
When you feel great, you can share and help others
Be generous and kind to your sisters and brothers
They’re scared too, uncertain of the virus
Be an example, a good brother, Cyrus.
And when life brings tragedy and so much more
Take a deep breath and count to four.
Direct your brain to what is true.
You’re here, you’re okay, you’ll make it through.
You’ll have what you need in the moment you need it
Go on and practice to truly believe it.
Your greatest asset of all don’t you know
Is your wonderful brain that continues to grow
And if this virus catches up with you
I have no doubt you’ll know what to do
Get plenty of rest & eat veggies and fruit
Drink bone broth, eat ferments, take vitamins too.
There are so many things that can help you be strong
Just keep it up and your life you’ll prolong.
I feel so much better, thanks mom & dad
I’ll do what you say, no need to get mad.
I’ll share this with others so they can know too
Our bodies can fight off a virus or flu.
And in the end this will all be okay
Let’s enjoy our lives every hour of each day.
If you’d like to come get coached, or your child would like to come get coached, I am offering 50% off coaching sessions until school starts up again. Please take advantage of managing your brain. Sign up HERE
Got more fun homeschool ideas? Go ahead and post them in the comments below.
Wishing you all love and safety at this time.
xoxo – Health Coach Heather