Practical Tools for Moms during Coronavirus

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Ideas for Homework, Movement, Faith, Socializing, & Snacks

We at Just Homemaking wanted to provide you with some support during this unprecedented time with the Coronavirus as we’re all socially distancing ourselves from others we normally do life with.

That’s why Melissa and Jenna joined together to bring you lots of great tips in this article! We want you to know that we are here for you. We are praying for you and your family, and we want to share some resources that might be helpful.

Some of you already homeschool your children, so teaching them at home will not feel out of the ordinary to you.

Some of you will be spending your day at home educating your children when you normally spend your daytime hours working in the community.

Some of you are single parents or special needs parents.

Some of you work in health care and have close family spending their days with your children so you can fight this illness in the medical field.

No matter how different the details are, we hope these tools and resources will provide some encouragement to know that you are not alone and we are all in this together.

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Create a Routine

First things first. Kids thrive on routine.

Well-run classes have a routine. Especially school-age classes. The kids know what to expect. It helps everyone to stay on task. It accomplishes predetermined goals. It’s intentional about the time you have.

That doesn’t mean you can’t have a random basketball game or can only listen to music during a certain time slot of the day. Instead, it helps make sure you get your bases covered. You’ll make the most out of the time you have.

Here is a sample of the daily routine Melisss’a family will be doing the next couple weeks.

Jenna found it easier to tailor her family’s schedule based on the different personalities and habits of her four boys, while also considering the availability of devices in her home:

To access a blank schedule that you can adjust to fit the needs of your family, click here.

Homework AND Life Skills

Many schools have switched to e-learning for the foreseeable future, at least until this all blows over. It will be important to nurture your children’s education and keep them on a path to finish their schoolwork in a timely manner.

This is also a great opportunity to work on life skills with your kids. We try and do this daily but there are just still so many things that we want to teach. Here are a few ideas you can address in the next few weeks, just by simply including them in tasks you probably already do anyway.

Intentional Parenting Ideas

  • Cleaning up the yard for spring
  • Sweeping
  • Setting the table correctly
  • Baking/Preparing meals
  • Sewing
  • Washing dishes
  • Cleaning out vehicles
  • Doing laundry
  • Changing sheets
  • Cutting nails

It would be a great time to address some things that have been pushed aside during the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Is your second grader still struggling to tie his or her shoes? You now have (at least) two weeks to practice this skill until it’s mastered!

Melissa’s family has 2 outside projects we will be working on the next couple weeks when we get the chance. We will be working on a couple more garden boxes as well as a fence for our chickens. It will get the boys outside, but also give them the opportunity to learn how to measure and create things for our home. Their enthusiasm may not be as high as ours, but they will still learn and make memories.

Don’t Forget to Move

Making sure we stay active and healthy during this time of social separation will be imperative. Plus, our children will need to burn off some of their abundant energy! Kids won’t have time in PE classes or after school sports/activities, so it will be important to provide that for them.

You can:

  • Have a dance party
  • Do yoga together like this Youtube video
  • Shoot hoops in the driveway or play wiffle ball in the backyard
  • Do the C25K app together
  • Have a family-wide plank or wall-sit challenge 
  • Jump on the trampoline
  • Here’s some simple family workouts that Suzanne came up with

We’re sure you’ll think of your own amazing ways to keep your family active and healthy, too!

Faith

Having our kids home now creates all the time in the world to cultivate their faith. No excuses.

Make sure we’re praying together each day. Incorporate some worship or devotional time into the schedule that YOU now control. Here’s an article with a worksheet Jenna created to help with memorizing a bible verse each week.

If your church has switched to live-streaming for the time-being, join them in a virtual capacity! Above all, remind your kids that God is bigger than Coronavirus and its ripple effects.

Meeting Other Needs Our Kids Have Become Accustomed To

Some of us will be missing time with a Speech Therapist, Occupational Therapist, Social Worker, Physical Therapist, etc. Not having those minutes scheduled throughout the week may really make an impact in your child’s day. Here are a few ideas you can implement at home that may help your child. These may be adapted to fit your needs.

Speech Therapy

  • Find several items in the house that start with the same letter
  • Read books and ask “Wh” questions about the story. Who was this story about? What did they want to do? When? Where? Why?
  • Play card games and practice taking turns. It is great for language development and social interaction. 
  • Drive around the neighborhood and talk about the differences in people’s houses. Are they 1 story or 2 stories? What color are they? Is there a wreath on the door? Do they have a front porch?
  • Do a simple activity like getting dressed and talk about the order you did it in. “What did you do first?” “What was next?” “What was the last thing you did?”
  • Share your “Highs and Lows” at dinner
  • Read lots of books together. If your child uses a talking device, let them share a story with you on their device. 
  • Facetime family for a few minutes. Talk about how you hold the phone and talk to them directly sharing back and forth interaction.

Occupational Therapy

  • Kinetic Sand
  • If it’s nice get the kids out to loosen up the garden or flower pots. Let them find worms and play with them.
  • Joint Compressions (watch a video from Melissa to learn how to do this)
  • Talk about hygiene and why we think it’s important
  • Drive by different stores and talk about what you might like to buy and how you would do that when you went into the store
  • Sensory tubs (dry beans, cotton balls, slime, popcorn, pasta, rocks, water and cups, shreds of paper, pompoms)
  • Set special time aside to spend with pets. Talk about their features. What they like to do and how we can treat them kindly.
  • Cut out shapes
  • Sort toys by color or shape
  • Have kids help put silverware away from the dishwasher

Social Work

  • Tell stories about feelings and ask questions about why people feel a certain way
  • Play cars and trucks and purposely bump into your child and talk about the ways to handle it
  • Play school and have your child be the teacher. Ask lots of questions and pretend to get upset for things like coloring outside the lines, dropping all supplies on the floor, and ask how to handle that situation
  • Talk about and practice calm down strategies when you are calm. Deep breathing, taking a walk, getting a drink, counting to 10.
  • Role play with stuffed animals. Have one animal be a good friend and have one animal be unkind. Ask what we can do when people are unkind to us.
  • Check in with your kids and ask them to respond using “I messages.” I am happy because………If they start out blaming their emotions on somebody else remind them to start with “I” because they are the only one in charge of their emotions.
  • Play games and win on purpose to practice game etiquette.  Remind them to say “Good Game” when they are finished.
  • Talk about upsets (after fully recovered). Focus on the good in the day and how those hard moments didn’t make the whole day a “bad day.” They were just a few hard moments, which we all have.

Physical Therapy

  • Make an indoor obstacle course. Use your furniture.
  • Go for walks and bike rides as much as possible.
  • Do heavy work to help organize the brain and nervous system. Stack canned goods, carry laundry baskets, wash windows, vacuum, push a wheelbarrow, do relay races while pushing heavy bins
  • Walk like different animals
  • Simon Says
  • Yoga
  • Pick up sticks in the yard
  • Make tunnels and forts to play in
  • Practice catching and throwing balls
  • Plasma cars
  • trampoline

Ideas to make your time at home memorable

  • Take pictures and make a photobook.
  • If your kids are older, have them write a letter to their future self, sharing how they felt and what they did during the Coronavirus outbreak.
  • Play lots of games—active ones in the backyard and board games around the coffee table.

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Socializing

Some kids may be feeling the social distancing more than others. Probably more so for only children. Thankfully, with today’s technology, it’s easier than ever to connect with others, even from a distance.

Maybe allow some time during the day for kids to FaceTime their friends or relatives. You can even have them play games over a video chat. Here are some that come to mind, as long as both parties have a set:

  • Battleship
  • Scattergories
  • Yahtzee
  • Guess Who

Some neighborhoods have organized window art with different themes. For instance, on St. Patrick’s Day, people in Jenna’s neighborhood made shamrock crafts to display on their street-facing windows, and later hopped in the car to see all the shamrocks that friends and neighbors had put up.

Little things like this are fun for the kids, and remind them that everyone’s experiencing the same things they are.

How to handle snacks

We have 7 boys between the two of us authoring this post (Jenna-4 and Melissa-3). They want to eat all the things. All the time.

Here is how Melissa will be managing snack time:

We have a sheet with each day of the week and tabs with Number 1 and Number 2 under it.

After the morning snack, they tear off number 1. No more food until lunch.

In the afternoon, they have a snack and tear off the number 2. They are done. No more grazing on popcorn and pretzels around the clock.

I was pleasantly surprised at how well they accepted this after I explained it will help our budget, keep us from eating when we really don’t need to, and pointing out that they don’t eat at school all day long. They will survive just fine. I had one boy coming in 10 minutes after he tore off his “2” and opened the pantry.  I told him, “You don’t have a number” and he laughed and moved along.

To access a printable version of this snack rationing system, click here.

Things to Remember

  • Your kids aren’t going to like every single thing they do during their time at home and that’s ok. They need to be challenged. They need to try new things. They need to learn to follow schedules. But there are a lot of ways to make parts of their at-home learning fun, so please feel encouraged to do so!
  • As tempting as it will be to eat donuts and cupcakes all day, those things will also play an impact in their behavior and their ability to fight off sickness. 
  • Excess alcohol and sugar are going to play an impact in your gut health, which may affect your thinking and the way you respond to your family.  
  • You can make the kids go outside. It’s ok. Some may say they don’t want to, but they are fine. It’s good for their body and mind. 
  • Keep up with your vitamins. Melissa’s family focuses on Vitamin C and D, zinc, magnesium, b12, and probiotics along with our multivitamin.
  • Don’t forget to take care of yourself. Take a bath. Take a moment of peace for yourself. Nicole has a great post about Soul Care.
  • Take time out with your spouse. We have had “room dates” where we just eat a meal in our room in peace and watch a favorite show together. The kids know they aren’t supposed to bother us. 
  • If you are able to, get up before your kids. Spend time in prayer about the day. Ask God to bless your moments.
  • Push the water. For you and the kids. It keeps you healthy, hydrated, and digesting your food well. 
  • As tempting as it will be to let kids stay up late, respect bedtime. They need their rest. You need your time. You all will be able to fight off sickness better with a good night’s sleep.
  • Some may love the freedom of having school in pajamas. Jenna is a firm believer that getting dressed for the day and making your bed every morning sends a message to your mind and body that your day has begun and you are prepared to be productive. Give it a try!

Great Resources

  • Lunch Doodles with Mo Willems 

Your Free Printables

As a thank you to our subscribers, we’re offering the free printable schedule and snack rationing system. We hope it sets you and your family up for success by providing some structure for the coming days.

Just fill out this easy form and you will gain immediate access to a PDF. You can then edit the schedule on apps like picasa, picmonkey, pic collage, or canva. Or, just print it out and hand-write your own schedule in. As for the snack rationing system, just print it out and cut along the black lines in between each of the numbers!

You got this, Mama! We are praying for you and your family this week and ask that you do the same for us and ours. And in the meantime, let us know when you need encouragement, more ideas/systems, or just that reminder that you’re not alone!

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6 thoughts on “Practical Tools for Moms during Coronavirus”

  1. Alaina L Jackson

    Rainy day idea: My kids have been using Art For Kids Hub ,on Youtube. They have almost whole notebooks full of drawings bow and the best part is all 5 of them sit together and do it. The guy in the videos draws with his kids and wife and then they compare the pictures at the end. Our younger kids have a entire wall in their room covered with their artwork now.

  2. Alaina L Jackson

    Also we have Children’s books that we get out with our Easter/Spring decorations every year. They are special Easter/Spring themed and they sit on our coffee table and we read them together every year. One is called Bunny Day, by Rick Walton. It is a rhyming book that goes by the hour of each day. It has the most beautiful illustrations. We sometimes start the day with the words we have memorized and my little kids especially get really into trying to do the things the family of bunnies do in the book each hr. of the day. It also snaps them out of their selfish squabbles if I randomly say something out of the book;)

    1. Alaina L Jackson

      And…..you can get really creative and purposely rhyme randomness to the older, eye-rolling kids as well. It is great for parents letting off steam, hahahahaha.

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