Indoor Activities for Moms and Kids Stuck at Home
- March 27, 2020
- by Melissa Lawrence
Hi everyone. Hoping that all of you are safe and out of harm’s way with your families. I’ve gotten out of the habit of my Weekly Wrap-Ups but the strict homestay we’ve been following here in Barcelona due to the Coronavirus (it’s been 15 days now, but who’s counting?) has inspired me to share parts of our family life again.
Since last Thursday, we’ve been on lockdown with our five children in our apartment in Barcelona. Although I would have thought that remaining in isolation with five children aged 9-15 would be impossible, we have managed thus far to weather the storm. Sure, we have had plenty of outbursts, blow-ups, and physical tiffs. Pillow fights break out during the course of the day and start out amicably but end with one weary participant sobbing. The sofa cushions spend more time on the floor than on the sofa. There are chargers, papers and playing cards tossed left and right. Order is gone and a steady chaos reigns. But we are surviving and, in some ways, thriving. Our family has found new ways to enjoy each other and I’ve been forced by this crisis to bend and stretch in ways I hadn’t before, making me, in some ways, into a better mom. I’ve had to think creatively when it comes to indoor activities for kids stuck at home and have done things with my kids that in the past I swore to do yet never found time for.
Here’s what’s gone down in our family, and let me know what’s happening in yours!
Our Stuck Inside Guide
Physical Exercise Now Includes or Does Not Exclude the Kids
Once my kids are set up on their iPads calling into their classes, I resort to my yoga mat in my room to try and breathe, stretch and stay strong. I’m tuning in to a different instructor every day on YouTube in different parts of the world. In the past, the practice of yoga would have entailed leaving the house and placing myself in a room with mostly strangers. Now, I do yoga with my door open and my kids popping in and moving past. Sometimes, they join in for a few poses. Often, they ask me for help with a link, a charger, or a snack, and I put the video on pause to help. Somewhat often, I hear screams and need to go referee. Thus, an hour-long video takes two hours or more. But some interesting things have cropped up as a result of my kids’ witnessing me doing my classes. Beckett has requested to do a class, my girls have done a class with me and on their own. And my kids see an adult trying (!) to stay positive, strong and healthy. Yoga is an ideal indoor activity for kids so call up Youtube and give it a try. You can do a 10, 20, 30 or full hour class at any level and in nearly any language, and use your floor or a rug if you are short a mat. Don’t let lack of time or materials be your excuse. You kids need to expend energy as much as you and will feel better and calmer after even a few minutes of breathing, stretching and poses.
Family Clean Up
During the frantic pace of our regular life, kids ran from meals and sometimes ate while doing homework. Cleanup did not trickle down. Now, getting kids to wash dishes and clean the kitchen is a Herculean task and don’t judge those (like me) who have to resort to the bribe of Ben & Jerry’s. Our new rule is that those who clean and stay to the bitter end get ice cream, and those who don’t, don’t. I usually cave and give everyone the ice cream, but I’ve had more helpers in the dishwashing department than during any other prior time. Cleaning the kitchen includes loading dishwasher, wiping down the counters, chairs, and table, and sweeping and mopping the floor. If you’re trying to keep kids entertained when stuck inside, cleaning up is a super idea since if they’re not cleaning up, they’re messing things up, and that can drive a mom crazy.
I’ve started reading Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice aloud to my girls (and watching the miniseries) and introduced Brontë’s Jane Eyre during lunch today. The kids almost murdered each other, and me, but I made it through a chapter. On my own, I’ve almost finished my first book in six months. I read until about midnight since rather than getting up at 6 as I normally do when the kids have to be dressed and out of the house at 8, I now can get up at 7:30. That’s precious reading time.
Family Movie Night
We’ve watched Legally Blond (funny!) and Legally Blond Two (silly!), our first family movies in a long time. Spending time with your kids bonding over a comedy can’t be beaten. I’ve made myriad batches of popcorn in coconut oil (sprinkled with salt) which the kids adore. The popcorn stays on the living room floor for a day or two until I get around to picking it up. That’s the kind of detail that I’m trying to let slide right now.
Every other day or so, we’ve made a batch of cookies or cake. Baking is something I had come to only do during summer vacation or at Christmastime. I grew up baking all the time with my sister, and to me, this is a great way to have a fun family activity at home. Now we have the time and everyone seems to enjoy an activity off of their screens.
Screen time has soared since all of my kids’ classes and assignments are online, but I’ve noticed something curious in that regard, as well. Having been online for most of the day, they seem to crave getting OFF-line. They want to do something in the real, physical world.
The Coronavirus is a major historical event and my heart goes out to those who have suffered or have loved ones who are sick or worse. In our little bubble, we’ve been fortunate not to find fevers or symptoms. Apart from the health concerns, this virus has put us closer in touch with each other and our innate human needs, like physical activity and connection with others. I wonder whether my kids will ever be the same. When they next walk out onto the street to head to school, will they not feel a burst of gratitude for these simple things? Perhaps our children’s generation, always accused of being spoiled and egocentric, will gain a new strength, perspective and resilience.
Wishing you peace and health in your homes.