If you’re like me, most of Missouri, America, and the world, you may be stuck in the house. Even if you’re venturing out, there are not many places to go! It can be taxing on both the body and the mind to stay indoors all the time. It can be stressful to be thrown together with your family (even though you do really like them, after all) with nowhere to go and nothing to do.
I’m here to tell you, as long as you’re breathing, there’s something you can do! Promise.
No matter how much you’re doing around the house, the odds are your schedule is emptier than ever, you’re watching more t.v. than ever, and the family is more bored than usual. It’s not enough to do housework, because–let’s face it–you’ll burn out quick! Instead of keeping busy doing the things that you feel need to be done, let’s look at some of the things we can do to keep busy and still have freedom to do the things we want to get done.
- Introduce chores (or new chores) to the whole family
With extra time for thoroughness, you have the chance to get more done, in the same amount of time. Choose a time for chores when the family won’t be rushing around for other things like meals or favorite showtimes. I’ve found the best time for chores in our household is just after breakfast.
- Interweave learning activities into the rest of life
So many families are asking me about homeschooling while the local public schools are closed. My advice? Don’t try to “school” your children unless you plan to continue on when schools open. The last thing you want to do is to add screaming matches to your “to-do” list during trying days of quarantine. Remember all the reasons why you chose to send your kids to a school, and let those be your reasons for letting this time off be about learning and not schooling.
Some of my favorite learning activities for relaxed “unschooling” include:
-Cooking from a recipe (reading, measuring, following directions, and assessment–which is the best part!)
-Making food into art (like pancake art and snack art)
-Science experiments like Oobleck (which is perfect for also reading Dr. Seuss’ Bartholomew and the Oobleck).
–Video games with a purpose (let your kids tell you the objective of the game or specific level, create a plan to achieve it, and tell you an “after-action report”)
-Outside scavenger hunt in which the kids earn playtime outside by participating in a scavenger hunt at intervals (i.e. find a sample of an invertebrae/insect/rock/soil/flower/edible plant/etc or complete a task like 5 jumping jacks and describe which muscles are used, etc.)
-Become Pen Pals with friends! Use paper, stamps, art supplies and more to write letters and design cards for loved ones or even strangers.
-Disaster prep for the home (use resources from the Pathfinder Red Alert Honor and Fire Prevention Week to plan and practice fire escapes for the family, draw maps, and even learn the science of fires and natural disasters)
- Do things you usually don’t!
If you don’t let your kids do many of the things they ask to do, it’s likely because it’s time consuming or messy. Well, now we have all the time in the world (thanks to quarantine), and I like to pick one day to do the messy fun. Messy Monday is a great time to make Gack or Oobleck, paint, dig in the mud, bake, or make any other messes that will need your supervision or hands-on cleanup.
- Designate FAMILY TIME
Whether it’s video game time or t.v. time, board games, meal prep, or outside play, pick something to do as a family every day. If t.v. time was a family activity on Monday, let today be family fitness, and tomorrow be outside scavenger hunt or gardening. Don’t fall in a rut of the family in separate rooms except for t.v. before bedtime. Change it up and enjoy the whole family together for various activities throughout the week.
There are too many ideas to share in one post and still make it readable and enjoyable for the masses, so I’ll end with this: Get outside and find a way to connect with others. I have a friend who lives in a neighborhood where every home is decorating and displaying easter eggs in windows and in yards so people can spot them as they walk.
Let your kids facetime with their friends from school. Connect with their parents. Ask how they’re doing. You can still maintain social distancing while also connecting with others. As parents, we are used to the internet and social media, but our kids are used to seeing their friends, teachers, grandparents, cousins, and more. Take the extra steps necessary to make sure they are “socialized” while at home (there’s an inside joke for the homeschoolers out there).
Above all, stay safe and stay close to the Savior. God Bless.