Tips to Survive Quarantine with Kids
Survival Tips for Stay At Home
As COVID-19 has swept through the United States it has brought fear, uncertainty, and anxiety as well as unprecedented self-quarantine. The schools have closed for what feels like an unknown amount of time and while we all try to grasp the magnitude of this situation many parents are also left wondering how to survive this quarantine with kids.
As a marriage therapist and parenting coach, a lot of my clients have been reaching out with questions and concerns surrounding this whole COVID-19 quarantine. I want to share my favorite helpful tips to survive quarantine with kids (especially school age!).
Wake Up Before the Kids
Although sacrificing sleep is always a challenge and very much a sacrifice, it will feel worth it. Waking up before the kids 20-30 minutes allows you to take care of yourself first, have a moment of peace, and do something to set yourself up for success for the rest of the day (whether you are organizing your work from home space, prepping your mind with positive thoughts for the day, or searching for cardboard boxes to built the best forts with your kiddos).
Use mindfulness as a way to bring yourself back into the present moment when you’re starting to feel your blood boil or you’re having a moment of intense panic. Tune into what you can see, hear, smell, taste and feel. Or walk yourself through a deep breathing exercise (breathe in 4 counts, hold for 4 counts, out for 4 counts, repeat 4 times).
Set Up a Schedule for Both Yourself and the Kids
Creating a sense of routine and structure often is helpful for everyone involved. Setting up a schedule for both yourself and the kids will help you to monitor your family activities. Kids do best when they know what to expect, so laying out the plan for the day will keep things flowing a little more smoothly and hopefully stop everyone from asking for snacks every 5 minutes.
Enforce Quiet Time
Being home all day long together can feel overly stimulating. Building an hour of quiet time into the day can give everyone a break and a moment to recharge. During this time kids are expected to be in their rooms napping or engaged in a quiet independent activity. I tell my parenting coaching clients that this is an excellent time to practice self-awareness, meditation, and resetting before continuing through the rest of the day (and a little social distancing from the newness of being around eah other 24/7 for an hour never hurts…).
Use Dinner Time to Practice Gratitude as a Family
Cultivating gratitude is consistently shown to positively impact overall happiness so, using dinner time to practice gratitude as a family is an excellent time for cultivating gratitude with your children. Go around the table and say one thing you feel grateful for during dinner. Doing this regularly helps everyone start to tune in to what they feel grateful for throughout the day, it also reminds us that even on our hardest days there is something to be thankful for.
Have a Clean Up Dance Party at the End of the Day
Ending the day with a clean(ish) house may help everyone feel a bit more settled, so take 10 minutes before bedtime to blast the tunes and straighten up the days' mess. The music makes it feel fun and special and may even end up in an all out dance party which is great for boosting mood and getting some extra exercise. Having a clean home at the end of the day will help set you up for success the following morning.
Above All Else, Practice Self-Compassion and Patience!
It is A LOT to be managing work, kids, your relationship, pets, anxiety etc. Sometimes you will feel like all you’re doing is surviving and that is absolutely ok.
This is temporary, every day is a new day and a new opportunity to try again. Sometimes you’ll be able to keep the days routine and other days you might need your kids to have a little extra screen time. Be kind to yourself and know that good enough is truly enough.
We can do hard things and we will get through this. Remember to stay connected to your friends and family and if you need some extra support, online therapy and coaching are good options to increase general self care.
Stay strong, you’ve got this.
Jessica Small, M.A., LMFT
P.S. If you are looking for an online support group, Growing Self is now accepting new members to our Coronavirus Support Group. Read More Here → Coping with Anxiety, Stress, and Lonliness in the Era of Coronavirus
Jessica Small, M.A., LMFT is a Denver-based couples counselor, premarital counselor, therapist, and life coach who is passionate about helping individuals, families & couples create more fulfilling lives and relationships, and to function at an optimum level of health and happiness.
Jessica meets with clients both in-person at our Denver office and by online video.
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