Here we go—week three of social distancing and quarantine. (It is week three, right? Have I already lost count?)
Are you feeling the frustration and anxiety creeping up on you? Don’t worry, there’s still plenty of inspiration out there if you’ve already gone through your own playbook on how to work at home and keep the kids on top of school.
Below are six tips from local mompreneurs on how to stay inspired and keep the kiddos entertained while social distancing.
Find Creative Ways to Use Ordinary Things
Caroline Eastman, co-founder of Blue Print in Dallas says she enjoys activities that allow her to spend quality time with the kids while teaching them something new. Here are a few ideas:
- Practice Easter egg hunting. Hide the eggs around the house.
- Teach the kids how to play kickball with a beach ball.
- Bake and learn how to measure, pour and count.
- Collect items from nature and make them into collage art.
- Learn table manners each night (one rule per dinner).
- Learn how to French braid and practice on dolls and yourselves.
Remember You Can’t Do It All—Be Kind To Yourself
Rae Liu, co-founder Leatherology, says this is an important thing to remember right now.
“This is such a stressful time for everyone, so I’ve been trying to take it one day at a time,” Liu says. “As moms, we often feel so much pressure to do it all, and it’s simply not possible—especially right now! I encourage you to be kind to yourself, as we’re all going through this together.” Liu says it’s also important to focus on the silver lining here and to be thankful for the additional time you get to spend with your children. “I am also completely in awe of what my kids’ teachers do each day!” Liu says.
Below are a few things she’s doing with her kids during this time:
- Painting al fresco
- Getting the kids to help with laundry
- Cooking together
- Doing virtual play dates with classmates
Power Through This Together
Erin Duvall and Molly Duvall Thomas of Sisters of Red believe that now more than ever, we need to focus on making our community stronger, even when we’re apart. “As mothers of seven children under 11-years-old, we are definitely having to think outside the box to come up with fun ideas for our littles and still get some work done along the way,” the two women say.
Here are a couple fun activities they have done with their children:
- Collect coins
- Shake it off
- Make a cardboard fort out of Amazon boxes
- Film Tik Toks
- Color by numbers
- Days with Grey and Busy Toddler accounts on Instagram
- Cosmic Yoga
- Scholasticonline and apps
- Virtual play dates
Make Homeschooling Fun
Kimberly Schlegel Whitman, a lifestyle expert from Dallas, says she’s doing her best to keep her kids moving while homeschooling. “I made a Spotify playlist that has all of our family favorite fun songs that we can take a break with,” Schlegel Whitman says. “When I see the children getting frustrated, we take a dance break. We use it when we are getting a bit stir crazy or blue over here.”
She says she’s determined to keep things “as joyful as possible.” Ultimately, she wants her children to reflect on this time as one that was “productive and special.” “I’m not going to yell at them about their school work and have that be their memory of shelter-in-place,” she says. “We are doing our best but, if they fall behind with me, they will catch up when they get back to their teachers—the real professionals. I’m just trying to give the children as much grace as possible right now. Their lives are as upside down as ours are.”
Here are a few things she’s doing with her family:
- Puzzles, board games, cookbooks and new projects
- Virtual field trips
- Organizing their space
- Posting a “lunch menu” like the kids have at school
- Baking and crafting
Keep It Simple
Ashley Roberston of The Teacher Diva is keeping things simple with her little one, with activities such as taking walks and painting. “[Daily walks] are the only thing keeping us sane right now!” Robertson says. “George is 10 months old—so our activity is limited—but he loves to get fresh air and look at nature. It’s a nice break for us too!” Robertson says she’s also taping toys to the wall. “If you have any masking tape or painter’s tape around the house (which shouldn’t peel the paint off), use two to three inches to tape some toys or stuffed animals to the wall,” she says. “You’ll want these to be relatively low so the baby can sit up and try to pull off the toys. “ This works the baby’s movement and coordination.
A few other activities Robertson recommends include:
- Flash card treasure hunt: “Use index cards and write numbers, letters, shapes or colors on them. Tape them around the house and have your child go on a treasure hunt for the shape or number. Have a few surprise cards that say ‘Go on a walk!’ or ‘Dance party with dad.’”
- ABC treasure hunt: “Make a checklist for your child with the letters of the alphabet. If they are younger and just learning ABCs, start with three or five letters. Have them hunt for objects around the house that start with that letter. See if they can find three things per letter. When they finish, have them pick a few objects they found and use them in a sentence or write the sentence for you. This can help with vocabulary, sentence building, creative writing and phonetics.”
Give Yourself Some “You” Time
Lauren Gachkar and Ashleigh Pogue, co-founders of Opalens Beauty, both say that before the kids get up, make time for you. For example, they say to make the time to fix a cup of coffee, read a devotional and/or have some alone time with your partner.
Gachkar also suggests time blocking. In other words, don’t get stuck on one thing. “This will help you and the kids when it comes to attention spans,” she says. “Changing scenery is always helpful to keep kids on track too.”
A few other ideas from the two women:
- Create a designated learning space for school work
- Create a daily and weekly goals list
- Getting outside for “recess” or play sports
- Scavenger hunts
- Coloring pictures and mailing them to Grandma and Grandpa and other family members in healthcare
- Make friendship bracelets
Photos courtesy of Rae Liu, Kimberly Schlegel Whitman and Lauren Gachkar. Featured photo courtesy of Molly Duvall Thomas and Erin Duvall.