After two years of pandemic living, our family toolbox for staying at home is still very helpful. We wanted to support you and your family during the difficult times. We hope this toolbox continues to provides you with ways to engage and motivate kids and yourself at home, ideas for talking to little ones about what’s going on, keeping things simple with low prep ways to keep the home intact, and sources to find accurate and trustworthy info on the situation.
We curated this with the intention to help maintain a balance in your home and support a simple family way of life. There’s no need for constant action, stimulation, and entertainment. In fact, isn’t this what we have been wanting? Time at home, more time with kids, more time to play together, more time to try new hobbies and habits and routines. Well, here it is! The universe works in mysterious ways and let’s accept this as it is and be determined to reap joy from it.
We will keep updating the list with new ideas as we get them and you are most welcome to send in your finds as well. Please write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Let’s team together and inspire each other every day.
Setting up for Success
One of our favorite parenting coaches Kim John Payne, author of Simplicity Parenting, reposted his 5 part podcast series on dealing with Troubling Times. This is a great starting point to help you develop a game plan for your new life at home. He talks to us about #81) Preparing, #82) Signaling Security via Decluttering, #83) Wrapping Warm Rhythm Around Our Children, #84) Dialing Back Schedules in Preparation and Decisions Afterwards, and #85) Filtering Adult Information is More Important Now Than Before.
Laura at Sunny Day Family has created a realistic family schedule that keeps the kiddos busy playing and learning, gives the family time together and some alone time too.
We are staying in for a little while longer. Let’s use this opportunity to declutter our homes and breathe in some light and cleanliness into our space. Less stuff means more focused play and this is going to be your sanity savior. Take a look at our blog post on 9 simple elements of play when buying or decluttering toys. I described a comprehensive and effective approach to decluttering your kid’s toys.
At home play
We recently found Little Pine Learners and we’re loving it. Tara is an early childhood educator and teaches fun new ways to learn about the natural world. Her website is filled with awesome activities for kids, but this one is especially helpful during your stay at home period: https://littlepinelearners.com/10-ways-to-stay-connected-to-the-outside-world-through-your-window/
In our home, we are fans of The Artful Parent and get tons of inspirations from them. The list of ideas here are endless and we are sure you will be inspired to start right away. We especially like their invitations to art because it allows kids to just be and parents to just let go. Try https://artfulparent.com/5-after-school-art-invitations-for-kids-easy-to-setup-in-under-5-minutes/
If you’re looking for no-screen activities for your 6+ year olds, you’ll love this list by Self-Sufficient Kids. Activities are also great for you to do with the younger one. From creating indoor obstacle courses to making a secret code, kids will love these picking from this list.
Talking to kids about Coronavirus
The best article we found on talking to kids about this situation came from The New York Times Parenting. We were especially glad the author mentioned the importance of age appropriate info sharing and the need to process our own fears and anxieties due to the situation. Note: You will need to submit your email address to access the article. https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/17/parenting/coronavirus-kids-talk.html
We came across this Italian youtube video of a child explaining to other kids about the virus. We loved that it was in another language because this reflects how kids all over the world are on a mission together to protect against these “little monsters”. The creators did a great job making everything about this video kid-friendly. The best part is that it’s effective! After watching and translating (English subtitles), our son quickly understood the importance of hand washing way faster than the countless times I tried. Moreover, I see him practicing all the steps throughout the day and everyday since. All in all, this was a winner in our family. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BGHwUs9lSLg
He’s Extraordinary posted an article on the importance of exercise. We all know that right? This is our time to really put into practice in a fun and entertaining way with the kids. Get them to jump like frogs or shuffle like a gorilla. Add these to your day to maximum benefits and fun!
A little space for all
You are not the only one that needs a little space and quiet. Your kids will need it too! Make time during the day for some down time, especially after any active play. Both you and the kids can unwind a bit and get some me-time.
Museum visit anyone? A virtual one that is! We are so grateful for this comprehensive list of awesome museums around the world offering free virtual tours. This is a fantastic way to bring the world right into your home. https://www.familydaystriedandtested.com/free-virtual-tours-of-world-museums-educational-sites-galleries-for-children/
We are so excited about discovering this hidden treasure. The University of Florida’s Baldwin Library of Historical Children’s Literature has digitalized over 6,000 historical children’s books. Let kids explore a bit of history through literature. From fairy tales, to nursery rhymes, to poetry, to travelogue storybooks, kid’s can get lost in the past! https://ufdc.ufl.edu/collections/juv/results
Something New for Parents
Parents need to also nourish our minds and do some self-care especially now. Dealing with a global pandemic can take a toll on us physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. Let’s make sure to include some TLC in our stay at home routine.
Haven’t tried the Calm app yet? Now is the perfect time. With the help of guided meditations, this free app offers better sleep, confidence boosters, stress and anxiety release, and practicing gratitude. Bedtime stories are not just for kids, try one tonight. https://www.calm.com/
If staying at home is more trying than you hoped, then how about giving calming foods a try. Jess from My Better Nature tested out a two week meal plan filled with foods that produce a calming effect in your body. She include a great list of calming foods along with their nutritional value and benefits. https://mybetternature.ca/naturally-calming-foods-drinks-meal-plan/
Ever tried Domestika? We love it at UpUp Baby and use it for leveling up our own skills. They are now offering a collection of free courses we think parents will love to do. Courses are in Spanish with English subtitles.
How about doing a course together with your child? Try out their Drawing and Creativity for Big Little Artists trains children and adults’ creativity just by using your hands, your brain and some basic tools.
Other free courses include:
Stamping Techniques for Children, Introduction to the Creation of Cartoon Style Characters, Introduction to Digital Photography, Basic Embroidery Techniques, Introduction to Blogging, Creation of an Online WordPress Store, and more.