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5 sanity-saving tips for families stuck inside

Ashley Chalmers

Contributor

Covid-19 is doing a number on everyone's mental health, and this certainly includes parents who have little ones to entertain. Even if you're careful not to stress them out with the matter at hand, they still can tell something is afoot... and the biggest tell might be that you’re on an indefinite travel hiatus. Try to incorporate some of these ideas into your day, and hopefully preserve everyone's sanity for as long as possible.

Keep a routine

It's tempting for us all to stay in our pyjamas all day, but kids truly thrive with a routine. Start your day exactly as you normally would, but instead of going on the school run, go for a walk or a run around the park instead. Map your day out the night before, and give your little ones a run-down before the day begins so they know what to expect.

If you’re really feeling brave, maybe even let them have a say. Include a “free hour,” but ask them in the morning what they’d like to do, and balance the homeschool activities with their craziest games and silliest ideas.

Monitor information consumption

Connect with other parents online, and set a NO coronavirus rule. Depending on each other is key right now, but it's too easy to dissolve into swapping rumours and questionable news stories. This doesn't really do anyone any good, so set up a WhatsApp chat or Facebook group where you can swap ideas for crafts and activities.

Share links to videos, swap shows that won’t melt your kids’ brains, or send through art creations that might inspire their own little Picassos to create something beautiful. Just firmly agree to let everyone find their coronavirus news elsewhere.

Use your imagination

Never underestimate the power of imagination. While your kids’ default might be to re-enact every scene from Paw Patrol, get involved and direct the scene to somewhere global. Surprise them with a mid-day splash in the tub, where the bath doubles as a sailboat. Make-believe your destination, and sail off into the sun. Or, turn their rooms into a far off land, with decorations from past trips, or snack-breaks inspired or acquired from your favourite destinations.

If you really need a break from all this tiny travel, introduce them to a movie based in a place you can't wait to visit (or re-visit!). Jet off to Paris with Ratatouille, visit St. Petersburg with Anastasia or get a little tropical with Moana. 

Ditch the no-screens rule

During times like these, parents should go easy on themselves as far as TV is concerned. There are lots of positive things to be said about screen time. Download educational apps like Reading Eggs, or check out homeschool resources, like Brain Pop. Shows that are educational, like Numberblocks, or have a high emotional intelligence factor, like Daniel Tiger, are also great—especially during these times of limited social interaction. If you like to keep iPad time for in-flight only, turn your sofa into an aeroplane and let the kids sit back, relax, and prepare for takeoff!

Make movie nights a big event

Maybe you, like many, were supposed to be travelling at the moment. There's nothing more disappointing than a cancelled trip, and it’s likely your little ones are just as bummed as you. Relive and relish in old memories with a family movie night, and don't forget the popcorn!

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