You & COVID-19
Updated: Aug 20, 2021
If you are here in Nova Scotia you have just found out that beginning this week all child care, camps, schools and libraries are closed until at least Friday April 3. We know that many families across North America are in similar situations. We are not alone in this. We’d like to send out a few suggestions for you all as you try to navigate and balance work/home/full time child care/mental health in the coming days and weeks. We will be reposting ideas from other pages as well to our social media pages so check them out when you can.
Step One – Create a schedule for the next 3 weeks. Divide your days up into chunks of time. Write this daily schedule out on a piece of paper, or somewhere where everyone can see it. Even if your child can’t read – the process of looking at the schedule, moving from one thing to the next and knowing what to anticipate next is generally soothing and calming. It helps to greatly reduce frustration and challenging behaviours. Try to keep this schedule consistent. This time will be confusing to them because it’s an interruption to their regular daily/weekly flow. This isn’t one long weekend. A schedule will help keep them on track. And you too. Depending on the age of your child, try to plan activities that can keep them occupied for longer periods of time without your involvement so you can have 20, 30, 45mins or maybe even an hour of semi-uninterrupted time to attend to work. Aim to get a few of those chunks of time a day to yourself to complete work, in addition to nap-time if your child still naps. A sample day could look like:
Read a few books together
Activity (Playdough! Playdough can entertain even toddlers for up to an hour. Get/or make playdough this week and collect tools from around your house that they can use. Keep it all together for easy daily access. Water Play, Sensory play – dried pasta? rice? beans? Scoops, Bowls and spoons – from toddlers up to school age kids, Sensory Play is a great part of your day)
Outdoors (walk around the block, backyard, playground – this will help you both)
Books (Do you have audio books? Get some. Audible, online streaming sites, get libby from HRM Library, just get some)
Nap-time (If your child doesn’t nap maybe now is a bit of screen/down time? Or a longer period of listening to audio books and drawing)
Quiet Activity (colouring – print off colouring/activity sheets that don’t require your help, crafts – do you have a craft box? maybe make one this week – tape (lots of tape!!) markers, scissors, scraps of paper DO NOT GET GLITTER maybe you have one special craft material each day that you bust out, crayons, pencil crayons, special activity books, you get the picture)
Outdoor Play (it’s good for everyone – hit your reset button)
Dinner Prep – can they help you make dinner? Can they set the table? Can they fold some laundry while you make dinner? Do they have a child size broom and dustpan? Do you have a spray bottle? They can spray the windows with water and vinegar and ‘clean’ them
Bath – can bath-time get you a few minutes to yourself?
Books & Bed
YAY! YOU DID IT!!
Prep up some snacks for the week ahead so that you aren’t taking additional time during the day to prep stressed. Cut up some carrots and cucumbers and have them ready in the fridge. Cube up some cheese. Variety is not the spice of life right now – hummus, cheese, crackers, veggies, apple slices, pretzels, pickles. Applesauce, yogurt, grilled cheese, sandwiches. Keep it simple, you’ve got this. If you have a slow cooker plan out some easy meals for weeknight dinners. Sheet plan meals are great. So are sandwiches and wraps. Again – keep it simple folks.
Ideas to add into your daily schedule not mentioned above – dance parties, songs and singing, time in their rooms with their toys – if they are older maybe investing in a few new Lego sets will save you? Or if younger some Duplo? Maybe one of their stuffies is having a birthday party this week?
These days, these weeks – go easy on yourselves. You are all doing an incredible job, I promise. Stress levels are so high – our kids pick up on that. They feel it, they hear it, they sense it, they know it. Be patient, be kind, be calm. As best you can. And wash your hands.