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Challenge: Parenting Resolutions

A mom's guide to surviving the coronavirus

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You eye-roll when I ask you to take off your shoes before coming into my house and mock me when I insist on an immediate hand-washing upon entering.

My car’s middle console is full of a variety of travel size sanitizers. Want alcohol free? You got it. The hardcore stuff - no problem. An organic eucalyptus cleaning spray… check!

When I pick up my kids from school, they wash their hands before exiting campus, followed by a sanitizing spray upon buckling into their car-seats. And when they get home, they strip head to toe, tossing their school clothes immediately into the laundry and putting on fresh outfits. They know my hand washing expectations- lots of bubbles for a minimum of 30 seconds, and if it’s any short of my expectations, they’re required to redo.

I wash everything after a first wear, including towels that get used a maximum two times before hitting the laundry. In fact, I do more laundry than I can fold due to my impulsive washing tendencies. Anyone else sift through a pile of clothes to find their leggings in the morning?? Yeah, join the club.

Is all this overkill? Perhaps. But can I help it? No. It’s just the way I am.

Does it mean that I don’t let my kids run around barefoot, get dirty, and indulge in being their fantastically boyish selves? Absolutely not. In fact, I encourage it. I’m all for playing outside, sporadic road-trips, hotel stays, traveling, adventures, messy art projects, etc. But my OCDness of practicing smart self-care is in my blood. And I’ve been doing it since before sanitizer started flying off store shelves.

That’s what this boils down to. Being smart. Self-care. Keeping kids home when they’re sick - even that “iffy sick.” I don’t even send my kids to school if they’re dripping snot; it’s just not considerate to classmates or teachers.

Ask me about coronavirus and my answer is I just don’t know how I feel. I DO practice smart cleanliness, and my kids do too. The question is - do others? I’ve always had the “one life to live” mentality; yet, here I am cancelling travel plans. I love going to restaurants, but now I’m scared someone’s sneezing in the kitchen. And keeping the kids at home for the next two weeks... challenging, to say the least.

Truth be told, momm’ing ‘aint easy, especially when it comes to coronavirus.

I’ve lightly talked to my kids about what’s going, explaining our job is to keep them safe and healthy, even if it means playing hooky from the outside world. I’ve prepped impromptu homeschool necessities figuring I’ll probably keep them home until I feel comfortable. And keep in mind, I work from home, like many others. So, this will be challenging. However, my OCD-self has a game plan, kind of.

My kids are 6, 5, and 2, so I’m trying to model a daily preschool/kinder schedule. I ordered a white board on Amazon, which thank goodness is still delivering, and every morning we’ll sit down and talk about the day ahead. Using their current school schedule as a model, I’ve come up with the following:

1. Discuss Schedule of the day (as listed below).

2. Calendar. I ordered one of those pocket calendars that’s in every elementary classroom on the planet. We’ll discuss the date, season and weather. And mimicking my son’s kinder teacher, we’ll also determine whether the date is even or odd, instilling in them an incognito math lesson.

3. Jobs. At school, they love being line leader, door holder, etc. At home, why not give them a title? Lunch helper, art cleaner, daily assistant… I plan on coming up with something creative to make them feel important.

4. Centers. Since I want to spend individual time with each of my boys, I’ll put together three centers- two individual ones, and one with me. Individual ones can include Legos, free draw, worksheets, etc… and the one-on-ones will be tailored to what my children are currently learning in school. Each center will be a timed 15 minutes, eating up a whopping 45 minutes of the day. Woo hoo!

5. Snack/break. A good time to let them play outside for a bit while I catch up on work of my own!

6. Special Activity. At school, the boys have specials: PE, art, music, etc. At home, I’ll do the same… kinda. I’ll think of a daily art activity (remember making popsicle stick boxes? That’s a great one!). And I actually ordered a teach-your-kids piano book that I plan on implementing (wish me luck).

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7. Writing. Gotta practice those letters! There are tons of affordable workbooks that are great for letter/word practice. I also want the kids to make sight word flashcards, giving my Pre-K’er a preview of what’s to come next year.

8. iPad activity. I know, I know- as much as I’m anti-tech, I’ll need a break for myself (for my sanity). Therefore, 20 minutes of iPad time it is! And rumor has it there are a bunch of educational apps offering free downloads during this coronavirus thing.

9. Lunch/recess.

10. Math. Again, workbooks are gold! But I also want to get creative- playing math games with Cheerios or dividing/counting all their Legos by color. I ordered math dice that’s supposed to be pretty cool, too. I hated math- and still do- so I want to make it fun.

11. Special Activity. Yep, another one! Maybe PE- in other words, free play outside while I catch a breath.

12. Reading/EOD story-time. My Kindergartener loves to read, and his confidence radiates when he reads to his brothers. This will be our dedicated reading time- whether it be me to them, my oldest to us, or helping my middle. And as for my 2-year old… he loves those see-and-say picture books.

Other stimulating activities that eat up time and energy…

  • Board games. Have a sports fan? Order NFL Monopoly Jr.
  • Play cards. Uno has a variety out- my boys adore Uno Flip and Uno Attack.
  • Finger paint. And then order frames to showcase their best stuff.
  • Body paint. If it’s nice outside, bring paint in your yard and let them have at it. Just make sure you get washable!
  • Cheerio jewelry. Great for the little ones. Get pipe cleaners and have them string the cereal. Ideal for fine motor skills.
  • Weaving loom. They’re under $10 online and the end result is an adorable pretend potholder.
  • Dress-up. My favorite “toy” of all. Assign them with putting on a play and then watch them perform.
  • Bike ride.
  • Cook. Nothing says quarantine like fresh baked cookies.
  • Word searches! There are easy booklets for young kids, too.
  • Help them write a book. It doesn’t take much to staple a few pieces of paper together to make them feel like an author.
  • Take a walk, go on a backyard scavenger hunt, collect leaves... whatever!
  • Stay up late and watch movies. They don't have to get up early for school the next morning, remember????!!!
  • Build a fort.
  • Organize. Use this at-home time to get life together. Go through their clothes, old toys, etc. And while you’re at it, clean the pantry, the garage, and your closet.

And when you're nearing pulling your hair out; remember: this too shall pass. Consider this time something special and sacred to enjoy with your kids.

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