This is the first time in my lifetime I’ve experienced something like this — schools closing, businesses closing, and travel being restricted because of Coronavirus (COVID-19). I don’t think I’d actually heard the term ‘social distancing’ before this year either. It’s a bit overwhelming. And by ‘a bit’, I mean A LOT. Especially as a working mom who deals with anxiety, has a toddler, and whose family has been planning a big international trip for next month.
So, wanted to gather a few tips for parents to try to maintain a little sanity during this pandemic — or anytime you’re stuck at home for a bit.
Also, here are some general tips for how social distancing works from Johns Hopkins Medicine.
1. Breathe. But not on each other.
You have to take a little time to not freak out. I get that it’s overwhelming. So, just get informed, stay up-to-date on the latest info in your area, try to avoid touching your faces, and have everyone wash their hands A LOT.
Please enjoy this fun song I saw on Last Week Tonight — it’s the Vietnamese video made to help get people singing and washing their hands with Coronavirus first blowing up:
2. Stay informed… from accurate sources.
There’s lots of information including mis-information floating around. You’ll want to make sure you research the details, even if a trusted person is telling you something. Medical professionals, scientists, and infectious disease experts are the ones to listen to most. Some helpful sites include:
- The CDC’s website on COVID-19
- The State Department’s Travel Info
- World Health Organization (WHO) Coronavirus Q&A
Keep in mind this is a novel (new) iteration of a virus, so everyone is still learning about it. Keep learning and be kind.
I’ve seen lots of great resources popping up. Here are a few:
- Education companies offering free resources from Amazing Educational Resources
- Online instruction ideas from Steve Sherman at LivingMaths.com
- For older kids and grown ups: Free Code Camp shares 450 free Ivy League online classes
- KidsActivities.com has a list of education companies offering free subscriptions
- City Mom Collective has a list of games, podcasts, apps, and more to check out
- ABC Mouse is a favorite iPad app we use with our toddler. They have a free trial for 30 days and a special offer for $60 to get one year worth of access. Also, just heard they’ve got a special code right now to use it for FREE with all that’s going on – SCHOOL7771
- LUNCH DOODLES with Mo Willems – new videos available each weekday at 1 pm ET
- Visit art museums virtually – Mental Floss shares 12 of them
- A great Smartsheet resource with online learning tools
- Virtual field trips on DiscoveryEducation.com
Your child’s school likely has some good online resources as well (or they’re working hard to get some to you). So, check with them to find out what you have access to while you’re home.
4. Get moving.
There are tons of great YouTube videos online from yoga to Zumbini (that’s Zumba for toddlers in case you didn’t know) to dance. We’re lucky because our amazing local kids dance studio (In Sync Center for the Arts) has started doing various online sessions with Facebook Live. Check out your local places — and make sure you keep supporting them however you can as lots of folks are struggling to keep things going.
Many companies are offering specials to stay active right now, like Peloton who has a free 90-day trial of their digital membership. They have cycling and running classes, yoga, meditation, strength, stretching, and cardio and strength training. All you need is a mat. Click here to download the app.
Some YouTube movement videos and channels for toddlers include:
- Zumbini – Zumba for toddlers (they have Spanish versions as well and the lady will crack you up, too!)
- Cosmic Kids Yoga – yoga with stories and characters included so the kiddos love it (the main instructor has an adorable accent which makes it even more fun)
- Mindfulness – Cosmic Kids Yoga also has some mindfulness and meditation videos for some added zen 🙂
There are tons of things to take seriously about COVID-19. It’s a big issue and there are a lot of things we all need to do in order to help ourselves, our families, and humanity. But, you also need to laugh. Here are some clever memes and visuals I’ve seen recently to help.
An adjustment made to some of the recommended social distancing schedules floating around the web:
And some other memes/visuals floating around:
(These have just been shared randomly on social, so I don’t have sources from all unfortunately.)
6. Get some arts and crafts supplies.
Just because you don’t have to make your leprechaun trap for St. Patrick’s Day at school anymore, you can still grab some popsicle sticks, paper, or even those Amazon boxes down in your basement (this isn’t just us, right?) to make a fort, house, or whatever else your little one’s heart desires. Coloring, building things, and other creative activities help both your kids and you.
As an adult, keep a journal to get your thoughts down. This may help get things out and also could be interesting in 50 years when you’re telling your grand kids or great grand kids about what happened in 2020.
7. Do some spring cleaning and budgeting.
This may not sound fun, but if you have some extra time at home, you can use it to get things tidied up and even take a look at your budget. These will help you feel accomplished and budgeting is smart, especially now because many people are going to see some financial hits (whether from stock losses, IRA hits, or reduced pay at work if hours are cut or places are closed).
There are some great apps and online tools like Mint or YNAB (You Need a Budget) to help you out, too. If finances are top of mind, check out more about dealing with Coronavirus financial issues here.
For the cleaning part, you can also get the kids involved. Have them help tidy their room or play area. At least it’ll be clean for an hour or two 🙂
Facetime, Skype, Google Chat, and Zoom are all great ways to stay in touch with your networks — colleagues, other parents, and elderly relatives or neighbors. Just because you can’t hang out in person, you can still reach out to stay in touch while social distancing.
We even were lucky to have Grandma read books to our kiddo on video chat today.
Leverage those online networks like parenting forums and Facebook groups in your industry, too, to connect online with others. We’re all in this together!
Good luck with everything, especially if you’re juggling work and kiddos. And stay healthy!