Wow! This past month has been crazy. How have you been surviving these extraordinary times of mandated stay-at-home orders?
For some parents, it’s juggling school work in between video conferencing with work or having to find alternative daycare while heading out into the frontlines. I am in the “working full time and trying to keep my boys busy” boat. I love my boys as I am sure that you love your kids to death, but a break from each other definitely keeps relationships healthy.
So, I just wanted to drop in here to give you some tips on how to keep your children feeling safe, secure, and rested while maintaining some semblance of normalcy. This stay-at-home survival guide for parents applies to quarantine, but can be applied to summer holidays, sick days, or any other time you’re stuck at home.
Stick To The Schedule
Have you wondered why a simple game like peek-a-poo is so entertaining for babies? It’s in part because they know what’s going to happen. You put your hands over your face and your baby thinks, “Hey, I know this game! She’s going to make a funny face at me when she moves her hands away!” You move your hands down and give her your favorite peek-a-boo face. Your baby squeals in delight while thinking, “I knew that was going to happen!”
Routines and predictability provide a sense of security for your children. So, by setting a quarantine schedule, it helps maps out the day and keeps things predictable and consistent. They can be confident in what is expected of them.
Adjust Your Screen Time Limits
You’ve probably seen the memes circulating social media about day one quarantine life versus day five. The “I plan on making bread and teaching my child to knit” versus “here watch this story read by xyz celebrity on YouTube” meme. This extra time at home doesn’t automatically mean you have all this extra time to become a Pinterest mom. So, you might have to resort to that book online or an extra episode of Paw Patrol, which might be the difference between a peaceful afternoon and mutual meltdowns.
One piece of advice… turn the screens off at least two hours before bedtime. The screen’s blue light that is emitted interferes with the body’s natural circadian rhythms and stimulates your child instead of relaxing them.
Monitor The Pantry
Being at home more, means easier access to the snack cupboard. Few things affect our bodies’ sense of timing like when we eat, so allowing meal and snack times to fluctuate too much can upend your child’s schedule. Here’s that keyword again – consistency.
Consistency in timing and in nutritional value. Too many snacks close to bedtime can result in an upset tummy or excess energy.
Move, Dance, Build
Your child still needs to expend some of that pent-in energy even when the playgrounds aren’t assessible. With the warmer weather, go for a walk or bike ride even if it’s just laps around your patio. The sunlight helps maintain your natural circadian rhythms. If it’s raining out, host a dance party, watch some Go Noodle and move with the songs. Or embrace the mess of fort building using your couch cushions and every sheet in your linen closet.
Early To Bed, Early To Rise
It’s easy to go into holiday mode and turn off the alarm clock. Sticking to the usual bedtimes and wake-up times is really important. Yup, I’m going to say that word again…consistency, predictability, and structure are sources of comfort for our children. Stick to what works as it will also help transition easier when we finally get back to “normal”.
Be A Model
Model a positive emotional response to this situation. If you panic, your child will panic, which results in anxiety at bedtime. Toddlers are very perceptive and pick up on their parents’ emotions quickly. This doesn’t mean that you have to be positive all the time. Emotions are a part of life, but modeling how to deal with your emotions when you feel on edge or cooped will help your child learn new skills.
In the same vein, help your child focus on the good stuff. Watching the news with your small children can be stressful with words like “death toll”. These terms will start bouncing in their heads as they lay down at night. So shift the focus on some of the good things happening right now such as community connections.
Start Sleep Training
This is the perfect time to focus on tackling any sleep issues your family is facing. Restorative sleep is an important factor in keeping you and your family healthy. Plus, even though life seems a bit crazy right now, you’ll be able to rely on your child sleeping through the night and be fully engaged, growing and healthy. Schedule a chat with us!