Practical tips for families in isolation due to the corona virus.
You didn’t sign up for this. You love your kids, but you also love their school. Or, you love the time they spend there, and what you can achieve when they’re there. I totally understand. You have come here reluctantly, but you are here, so let’s see what we can come up with to get you through this. This can be a time of connection and learning for you and your kids. I promise.
This is not permanent. They will go back eventually so your job here is to keep your kids healthy and happy.
Your job is to also keep yourself healthy and happy, I haven’t forgotten you. Something we do as homes schoolers is have a chilled start to the day (hey we often have a whole chilled day) and you will enjoy this. If you enjoy a sleep in, this is your time to shine. If you are an early riser like me, take the time to enjoy your morning routine (mine involves herbal tea on the back veranda, reading a favourite inspirational book, followed by more tea and toast.) What could a peaceful morning look like for you? It’s time to enjoy breakfast. We love pancakes, French toast, poached eggs, toast and more toast (see second breakfast) and before you know it, it’s time for morning tea. Cooking is legitimate education. Do it. If they don’t want to help, do it for them. Enjoy it, take time to connect over it.
You are not Mary Poppins or the entertainment committee.
Don’t feel you have to be the over enthusiastic mum who writes on a white board. Most of us are not like that. After that lovely breakfast, we begin to get on with our day. Kids will too (give it some time for the new routine to establish itself – don’t force it). For me it’s clean up, put laundry on etc, just basic household stuff. The kids will get on with whatever they are doing. If yours have some pre-set work from school, now could be the time. It could be time for them to discover some new things, or curl up with a book. Don’t fight it. Do your own stuff, don’t hover, and just watch the new routine unfold.
Lunch – Pasta with a red wine and tomato sauce, topped with fresh parmesan. Salad. Sometimes but not always. A peanut butter sandwich and an apple. Serve yourself. Let them do it. Some will be interested in making food, others won’t. Both are ok.
In normal life we may have something on in the afternoon, like a catch up with friends, but not at the moment. So, we need to be a bit more creative about our afternoons. Some ideas:
Just keep doing what you did in the morning if it’s working
Do some gardening
Read aloud to them (age doesn’t matter)
Watch a movie
Bake (food again)
Craft, draw, paint
Knit, sew, crochet
Pick flowers in your garden
If there is something you have wanted to do, like start that sewing project, or you have to work from home, then do it. They will be fine. They may be interested in what you are doing too.
Be there to answer questions and see where that goes.
While you are all doing what it is that you do, be available to answer questions and see where that leads. One of our biggest mantras is ‘learning happens everywhere’ and that can mean watching your old favourite movie ‘The Sound of Music” can lead to discussion about geography, war and peace, singing, how you get to be in a movie, national costumes and possibly schnitzel with noodles. Why not. You don’t have to launch into a full scale project on the movie, just, if someone is interested, let it take its natural course.
You may be worried about your patience levels.
Keeping promises to yourself each day can help. See above, you are not Mary Poppins, don’t try to be. Promises include, drinking a coffee or tea in peace at your chosen time (it’s 10 am for me). Enjoy it and do something you like while you’re having it. Consider it a time out, but in a good way. Other things like exercise, yoga, stretching, time to read, journal, write can be really nourishing. Chatting to friends can also be a great way to keep things in perspective. The kids might enjoy a video chat with some of their mates too.
Support your kids kindly through whatever the school has provided. I often remind myself (OFTEN) to see with ‘gentle eyes’. Breathing is good if something is frustrating the hell out of you (you are human). Be prepared to just leave it ‘til later, give them some space, and not stress about what gets done and what doesn’t. Coming back to it later is always an option.
And now it’s time for dinner prep. 101 ways with mince…hmmmm or 101 ways with dried chickpeas if you are vego. It’s gonna get interesting.
Dinner prep time for us is chill out time for everyone.
Big kids play games on ipads or chat with friends, 8 year old watches a movie or telly. I have some peaceful time to cook and catch up on the socials, write a blog post or whatever. Dinner is together at the table, and we are grateful for what we have. And that’s another day done. Breathe in, breathe out and we’ll do it all again tomorrow.
If you have any specific questions please ask, you won’t be judged and I will do my best to answer.