Are you stuck at home due to the coronavirus?
Things are moving fast these days (and I'm afraid our home lives are about to slow down considerably!). We just had the first confirmed coronavirus case in our county. The schools are now closed until at least April 13. Universities and colleges are moving to online courses.
Many of us are now stuck at home, spending most of our day confined in our house or apartment. One of our daughters is out having her last playdate in a while.
I myself have decided that I am going to make this funky period a very happy and memorable time for my family. And I'll try hard not to stress out even when it gets difficult and frustrating because life (and work!) won’t move as fast as usual.
I know that, for many of you, this situation brings on grave worries on different levels. If you own a business, people temporarily may stop using your products or services because they are afraid they’ll catch the virus.
And if you are employed, you may be worried about what happens if you get sick – will you need to go to work sick because no one can cover for you or because you need the income? And who will take care of your children when schools close?
Will there be enough food and sufficient care for the sick if things get worse? So, whatever worries may weigh you down right now, do know that our hearts go out to you.
Spending so much time with the rest of the family in such confinement can bring its own challenges.
No place for solitude, you’re constantly sitting on top of each other, and you’re bored!
Or, if you have children, no chance to ever be bored because THEY are bored and won’t ever give you a chance to catch a breath. Not to say you won’t get any work done…
So we thought we’ll bring you some tips how to make the best of this newly found togetherness:
For couples stuck at home (and parents, after the kids have gone to bed…)
I've divided my tips into two separate sections here - one that talks about things you can do to spend some nice quality time together, and one that is more for crisis intervention when you just can't stand to sit on top of each other anymore...
Have some fun together
How about using the time you have to yourselves to reconnect with and really make time for each other? Here are a few suggestions (and I am sure you can come up with many more):
- Take out all your old photos or photo albums and revisit the good times you’ve had together
- Make a list of movies you’ve always wanted to watch and start binging
- Want to learn something together? There are so many eCourses these days – now is the time to get started!
- Listen to some music together (maybe there is a special piece of music or certain kind of music you always wanted to introduce your partner to)
- Travel around the world together: Take virtual tours of places, landmarks, museums, and much more. Then choose recipes of your destination, cook together (my favorite website is the Food Network) and stream some music that’s local to the place you visited.
- Showcase your passion for your partner (well, this would also work well for the whole family!): play your favorite instrument for them, show them some of the paintings you’ve painted; if you’re like me you can show them some nice martial arts moves, or introduce them to your hobby if it’s something you usually do by yourself.
- I could go on and on but you get the idea...
Keep this in mind when things get tough
Here are a few more tips for dealing with your loved one when you can’t get away from one another:
Deal with each other’s emotions
Take each other’s worries and fears seriously. There may be quite a few these days. Don’t just say “It’ll be all right”. Listen to your spouse, ask questions, and acknowledge the hard time they’re having. It’s OK to not know how things will play out. Right now none of us do.
Respect each other
You or your partner may need some alone time at some point. Treat yourself to that alone time, even if it’s just in another corner of that room. Respect each other’s needs and try to make life as easy as possible for each other. Which brings us to the next point:
Remember to be kind to each other
Especially when you can’t escape each other. Treat those around you as you want to be treated. It may be hard sometimes when you feel you can’t catch a break. But you CAN do it!
Stay sorry and make up when things did not go well. You can’t escape each other, and you don’t want to be confined with each other and stew all day in anger.
For the parents among you
Who knows when you’ll get to spend so much time together with your kids again – make the best of it! Enjoy 🙂
Create a routine you’ll stick to
In our household, I imagine things will go downhill pretty quickly if we just have anarchy. I have set up a schedule that includes times for learning, reading, arts and crafts, playing, being outside (hopefully!) and other things. I am making sure there’s lots of time for play and just hanging out for the kids. But they also know that being at home does not mean they can slack off all day.
Get serious with chores (sorry, kiddos!)
You’re all together in the house all day now. No excuses anymore for not participating in chores. This is the time for the kids to learn how to sort laundry, use the appliances, do some cooking with you, and whatever is age-appropriate.
Have some fun with the kids!
How about some crafting and painting? I like the website ArtfulParent for new ideas. And you can find many more ideas by using Google.
Since you need to prepare meals anyway, why not introduce the kids to nutrition and food groups? Then cook together, look at your meals from a nutrition standpoint, and do a little math as you work on the recipes.
Read together. There are many cheap apps that give children access to books (and often also short videos). When our children were smaller, they loved Farfaria. Now I like Epic for them (they’re still sad they do not have Farfaria anymore).
Do you have a passion? Introduce the kids to it (see also above in the adult section). Show them some videos, teach them something, create something together.
Take walks and hikes together or play outside together whenever possible.
For more fun ideas, check out the Parents website, which I like, or one of the many other sites online.
Take advantage of apps
Check with your school if they can give you access to any apps online. We received a list from our school and have access to apps that offer books, movies, entire lesson plans, and more.
Yes, you deserve a timeout, too!
If you need a timeout, let them watch a movie! Our children rarely are allowed watch TV, but I am sure it’s going to happen more frequently over the next weeks...
I hope these ideas give you a little inspiration to tackle the days ahead. If you have any more suggestions, please share them with us!
Good luck, have fun, and stay well!