Shelter in Place: Bringing the Family Together During Self-Isolation
Man, oh man, once upon a time, the term “self-isolation” would have sounded like a dream come true to most moms, right? Mandatory alone time? Sign me up!
Joke’s on you. Because of Coronavirus, the meaning of that simple phrase has morphed into meaning “locked inside with your children and spouse.” And surprise! Everyone still has to finish their work and go to school … just in the house. Always in the house. Everyone in the house.
These are crazy times we’re living in, but you don’t have to go crazy doing it. Make the most of sheltering in place by reevaluating the regular roles, habits, and activities of your family unit. In this article we’ll cover how to:
- Take the time to expand your children’s chore repertoire – a bonus for you!
- Find family-friendly movies on Common Sense Media
- Explore your world using virtual resources
- Get silly and artistic with homemade Pictionary
- Find creative new ways to play outside
Around the house
The first – and possibly most important – thing to understand about this dramatically different lifestyle that we’ve all been coerced into is that it’s no longer possible for mom to do it all. Even if your children had a chore list before, it’s likely that it was pretty light lifting designed to teach them more about responsibilities than to significantly relieve the burden of the adults in the house.
Let’s rethink that for a few reasons.
Number one, everyone is in the house all the time right now (unless one of you is an essential worker – and if so, thank you from the bottom of our tired little hearts.)
Number two, a lot of us are new to being a homeschool teacher. A lot of us wouldn’t have chosen this job, curse common core math, and are worried that there are going to be gaps in our children’s education.
The good news is that a lot of us are in the same boat. Now is the ideal time to teach them what we know they’ll need to know when they’re out in the world on their own, along with regular classroom lessons. So, yes, everyone just signed up for Home Ec.
Post a list of age-appropriate chores in a central location. A whiteboard is ideal for this because you can easily change roles and tasks each day – issuing tasks based on what’s happening around the house.
One fun idea may be to assign job titles for specific sets of tasks, such as:
- Kitchen manager. This person can wipe counters, set the table, and unload the dishwasher.
- This person can collect trash, dust furniture, or vacuum
- Laundry attendant. This person can gather, sort, and fold laundry.
Family fun without coming undone
“Suggestions for family time? How about suggestions for me time?” You may be thinking. Right. One day we’ll get back to that.
However, right now is the time to make the most of a crazy situation.
One of the most amazing things about children is their resiliency. When we will look back at this stressful time and shudder, they’ll have a different set of memories based on the uniqueness of this time.
Make those memories something to laugh about with the following ideas:
Family movie night
Add a fun twist to movie night by creating a drive-in theater in your living room. Decorate some cardboard boxes (or park some laundry baskets in front of the television if you’re looking to simplify this project) for each child to sit in, arrange some snack trays, and find a family-friendly film with the guidance of Common Sense Media.
Spend some time being silly together with a board game or make your own version of Pictionary with some flashcards or magazine clippings, and a dry erase board. Set a timer, choose a prompt from the pile, and have everyone guess what you’re attempting to draw.
Travel the world
Ok, we know. You can’t leave your home, but you can still see the world. Make little passport books for your children, present them with a “plane” ticket with a departure time. Then gather around the laptop to tour museums, historical sites, natural wonders, and more with virtual tours to exotic places.
Bonus points for making this an educational lesson by asking kids to do a presentation on their favorite site for the family afterward.
You can’t socialize much, but you can still explore your yard. Engage the family in a nighttime game of tag or hide and seek. Get flashlights, glow sticks, or glow-in-the-dark gear and have some fun chasing – or hiding from – each other.
We’re living in unprecedented times, and there’s no doubt that it can be stressful. Show your family what really matters by working and playing together and come through this period of isolation stronger than ever (and then you can hide from each other for real for a while – it’s all about balance.)
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