Tips for Staying Happy with Your Kids Home from School!
Updated: Apr 14, 2020
Many families are at home with kids that are usually in school. Stressful! Here are some tips for being at home with your kids with the most ease as possible.
1. Up your self-care! Post kid bedtime or before they wake up can be good practice times. Do whatever it is you like to do: yoga, drawing, meditations, movement. There’s a ton of meditations and yoga practices online. I’ve been really liking Glo, which is an online site that has a bunch of recorded yoga classes. I know zoning out on your phone is helpful sometimes, but being on a screen a bunch actually drains your energy instead of replenishing it and you want all the energy you can get!
2. Plan to have phone calls with friends. You are likely going to have some hard feelings come up in the next few weeks! Hand is hand parenting has a really helpful process that they call a “listening partnership”. Have regular calls with another parent to talk freely about what you’re going through. You listen to each other without judgment or trying to fix things. It a really healthy way to keep your resentment and difficult feelings from building up.
3. Accept big feelings and sibling conflicts and practice surrendering. With the disruption of schedule, lack of play time with friends, unpredictability, and contact with fear that is in the collective field, your kids are likely going to feel and express more big feelings than usual to you. And some of it may come out in really challenging ways, like fighting more often with siblings or being less agreeable than usual. But you know what's even worse than kids being upset? You being upset that your kids are upset, while your kids are upset. Right?! It’s totally natural, and the more you practice steadying yourself, listening to them, allowing them to have express feelings, the quicker the feelings pass and everyone can move along. Your resistance to their big feelings only makes things worse! This is where having a strong spiritual practice can come in handy.
4. Make a routine and do your best to stick to it. Resting into a time container will help all of you, even though it can sometimes feel unnecessary. After years of teaching, and a personal tendency to be loose with time, I have finally surrendered to the fact that most kids (and myself) end up feeling more regulated when a daily routine is followed. Check out the pic of a daily routine from The Wild and Wise (far right) and from Ronja's family (far left) below.
5. Interrupt games and activities as soon as kids start to loose interest. Activities go through an arch of engagement - they start, build, peek in engagement, then start to diminish in interest, and then get boring. I used to let a game go on until everyone was bored or kids got into conflicts. Many people do it that way! It took me until this year (almost 20 years into teaching) that I realized that interrupting and switching gears earlier helps everything feel better. As soon as kids start to loose interest we play a new game. If kids are still wanting to play- good! They will be happy to play next time instead of totally wearing it out. Bonus points if you can just throw out an idea for something exciting to do instead!
6. Find your own authentic curiosity and excitement about things to do with them. Kids get so happy and excited when adults are really into a game or activity. What lessons, activities, stories would YOU be excited to do with them ?
7. Go out in nature! This is a perfect time to get out on nature trails into the wild! You don’t have to worry about catching a virus from touching trees! Let them climb and run!
8. Plan with your kids some things you can do over the next few weeks, so that they feel involved! Check out these notes from a family meeting below, from Sarah’s family (middle pic).
9. PLAY WITH THEM! Make time, everyday, that the kids know about and can rely on, where your attention is not split and you are fully present with them. No checking your phone and texting, It’s best if this time is play time, and the kids are in the lead of what you play. Rough and tumble play is extra fun and kids will need to get that energy out somehow! Just make sure to set clear limits and listen to their boundaries while playing rough.