617.501.4008 cara@carasoulia.com

By failing to prepare you are preparing to fail.

—Benjamin Franklin.

7 Ideas for How to Survive Being Stuck At Home With Kids

While the kids might be cheering over the fact they don’t have school for the next two weeks, I can’t deny feeling a little bit of panic.  I have been a parent long enough to know that the kids’ excitement will wear off sometime during the very first day, boredom will set it, and this will inevitably will lead to incessant requests for screen time.   

During regular school vacation weeks I know the key to happiness and success is getting out of the house.  Everyone in the family is just in a better mood with an activity outside the home. However, since we are going to mostly be home during the next 14 days, I am making a plan.   

Here are 7 ideas I came up with for ways we will survive ( and perhaps even enjoy ) the next two weeks.

Set a schedule

Work with your kids to decide how your day will look.  Set simple rules that everyone can agree upon. This will lead to many fewer battles and less frustration.  ie, no screens during the day.  I based our schedule loosely on my kids’ schools schedules… morning work, outdoor time, activity (art/music/reading), snack break, outdoor time, activity, lunch, outdoor time, alone time, snack, activity, dinner….

Exercise / Move your Body

Without fail, the days during which I am in a better mood and have more patience for my children are the days that I exercise.  Although I can’t attend my favorite hot yoga class, you better believe I’ll be hitting up my favorite online exercise resource this week.  We are lucky to have a trampoline in our backyard, but moving your body can be as simple as a walk/bike/scoot around the block.  While you’re at it, don’t forget to drink your water. I love the recommendation of drinking 1/2 your body weight in ounces.  Will you have to pee constantly?  Yep. But at least you’re at home and near the bathroom ( #silverlining )

 

Connect with your inner artist

It goes without saying that we are experiencing an unsettling time.  It’s hard to explain to our kids what is going to happen, because we’ve never lived through a time like this before.  In our house, we are just trying to stay positive, stay present and stay calm.  One proven way to reduce stress and anxiety is through art.   

You don’t have to be an artist to pick up some colored pencils or a paintbrush.   I personally love to knit and I never seem to make enough time for it.  This week I’m working on some super cute hats to give to friends.   For my daughter, being artistic involves making obscene amounts of slime.  My older son is working on a model airplane.  All my five year old needs is play-doh.  Dedicate a time each day that you and your kids will do something artistic. You might be surprised at how lost you get in your project.  

Complete a project

If you’re anything like me, you have a list a mile long of things you’d like to accomplish.  I have short term goals and long term goals.  Business goals and family goals.  Somehow the list never ends. But what if you committed to finishing one big project during the next few weeks?  Every year I make a really special photo album of our family’s year and I’m embarrassed to say I haven’t completed one of these books since 2015!  I’m committed to spending time each day working on our 2016 family album.  What projects have you been putting off?

Be Alone.

Set aside a time every day when everybody in the house is alone.  Kids can choose to read, play music, play with Lego, train tracks, or just stare at their ceiling!  If your kids can’t tell time yet, set a timer.  60-90 minutes of alone time/quiet time can be a game changer in keeping your sanity!

Do something for someone else.

Use this time to think of ways you can help someone else.  When you focus on someone else’s needs, it helps you reduce stress and anxiety. Check in with your neighbors and friends to see how they are doing and if they need anything.  Make time to sort through the 1,203,456 stuffed animals and toys you don’t use and make bags for donation.  Collect books that you no longer read to donate to the library.   Declutter your closet.  Why are you keeping that dress that doesn’t fit you anymore anyway??  Completing a task for someone else is a great way to focus on something positive and keep your mind off the news.

Enjoy this time.

I know it’s probably easier said than done, but try to just enjoy this break in the pace of your normal routine. How often do we have a mandated 14 days to stay at home? 

If you’re into journaling, write down how you’re feeling or make a list every day of five things your are grateful for.  Write surprise letters to family and friends.  Leave fun notes for neighbors in chalk on their driveway. Have breakfast for dinner (here’s our favorite waffle recipe!) or wear your PJs all day.  Make a huge fort that takes over the entire living room.  Bake a cake for no good reason.  Create a scavenger hunt for the kids. Step outside and listen to the birds or check out that full moon tonite

Do all the things you wouldn’t normally do to make this time special.  In a strange way, you (and your kids!) might actually look back on it fondly someday. 

 

Cara Soulia is a Boston Family Photographer who is also a mom of three and she is acutely aware of how challenging it can be to be at home with the kids all day every day.  Cara hopes her 7 ideas to Survive Being Stuck At Home With Kids might be just the helpful advice you need during this trying time.

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