Let’s be honest, as moms, life without our kids, now that they’re here, is both unimaginable and a distant memory. But there are 100 times throughout the day when we are home, within these 4 walls, that we can maybe, just for a second, remember the easier days.
How is a mom to manage a pandemic, a full-time job, kids at home, keeping the house clean, and staying sane? Let’s not forget having to deal with our S/O. I’m not sure who is more stressful, them or the kids! It’s enough to send you on a spiral.
In our house, in order to work from home and be productive at our jobs, we send our kids to daycare. We are fortunate enough to have an amazing daycare that we love and trust. But what happens when daycare closes? What about those SAHM who are at home all day? You find yourself more scared than you have ever been in your life… of your kids.
When this all started happening, the days were extremely chaotic. I found out quickly that if you keep them busy, you make them tired, and they behave, sort of. Toddlers do not necessarily want to be “bad”. But, during this time of Covid, they are dealing with the drastic change of being home all the time, they’re bored and not sure what they want. All of this leads to them redefining what “bad” actually means.
I have laid out a few tricks that help keep us sane. They take planning and work on the part of the parents, but what else is new.
- Keep things organized
Getting my house organized is one of my goals for 2021. I have found that clutter happens; often and fast. Finding a space for everything keeps activities and inventory easy to manage. It also helps get rid of what you aren’t using regularly and identifies things you don’t need anymore. My favorite accounts for organization ideas are The Home Edit & Top Team CT! I also find it helpful to allocate different areas of the house for different activities. If you have the space, create a reading nook, a coloring/craft area, a place for kitchen play, etc. Switching up spaces, even if within the same room, helps to redirect and refocus kids!
2. Make a schedule and stick to it
This one is hard. Especially for those of us trying to work with kids home with a work schedule that is constantly changing. My husband and I have found it best to compare our work schedules the night before and assign times for each of us to be on “kid duty” while the other works. If work is light or not demanding when it’s not your turn with the kids, the expectation is that you are available to help with the kids as well. We have figured out a basic schedule for the twins (our poor third baby just goes along with it because the twins are so demanding). We consistently schedule snacks, lunch and nap and then switch up their other activities.
An example schedule could look like:
6:30A-7:30: wake up, downstairs- TV, dry cereal, get dressed
7:30A-8:30: kitchen play then breakfast (eggs and berries)
9:00A-9:30: play dough in the sensory bins
9:30A-10: toddler yoga, YouTube TV stretch activity or dance party
10A-10:30: snack and flash cards
10:30A-11:30: free play (outside if nice)
2P-3: snack, movie, free play
3P-4: outdoor play or indoor sensory play
4:30P-5:30: arts and crafts
5:30P-6: dinner & dessert
6P-6:30: bath and pajamas
6:30P-7: Blippie or educational TV show (for toddlers, Daniel Tiger for feelings)
7P-7:30: books, teeth brushed, one last potty
3. Stay busy
I have found the hard way that the less interaction the kids receive, the more likely they are to act out. As I talked about earlier, it’s proven that kids don’t want to be bad. They, although it’s hard to believe, aren’t trying to test us to get in trouble. As my son says, “no push my buttons”. They require direction and assistance in handling their emotions and routines. Without that, the tantrums are ROUGH! The more you can keep them consistent and busy, the less stress you will feel. For toddlers, I recommend building or purchasing a sensory table. I got ours at Ikea and they sell the buckets there as well. I keep everything for the sensory bins tucked away and only take one activity out at a time and put it back when we are done. I feel the less often that they see something, the more likely it is to keep them engaged longer. I use play dough, play dough slime and foam, kinetic sand, rainbow water bubbles, dried pasta or rice, pompoms, magnatiles, pop beads, and little buckets/tools all from Hobby Lobby or Michaels to fill their bins. I switch the themes by season and Pinterest has tons of ideas for sensory bin pay!
4. Keep active, eat well, and wash your hands!
Just like dogs, a tired child, is usually a well-behaved child. Therefore, the more active you can be with your child throughout the day, the more likely they are to behave and sleep well. With everything going on in the world outside of your home, it’s important to make sure you are doing everything you can to keep everything inside of your home safe and well. We have hand sanitizer everywhere, are teaching hand washing consistency with the kids and ensuring they have a balanced diet. We have also tried to incorporate immunity booster drinks into our daily routines to ensure the whole family is getting the vitamins and supplements needed to keep us healthy during these crazy times.
The world is a weird place right now. Life is hard, life is chaotic, and life is stressful, but at least we’re living! Through all of this, I try to remind myself of an extremely important reality. At what point in my life, will I be home so consistently and so often and at what point will my kids be home so consistently and so often where we get to bond and spend so much quality time together? Likely never. So hold it tight. The days are long, but the years are fast, and I remind myself of that at the end of every crazy day. We’ve got this!
Be well, friends.