Mom-umental ways to stay sane (and keep your kids busy)

While new developments regarding COVID-19 are announced daily (but seriously, has anyone tried putting a little breastmilk on it?!?), we are faced with the reality that we need to take specific action as mothers, caretakers, and valued contributors to our community. 

And the best action to take right now is to stay at home.

As our friend Seth Godin said today “staying at home and sheltering in place isn’t selfish, it’s generous. Social distancing helps keep the virus from infecting others at the same time that it flattens the curve of the spread of the pandemic, giving health facilities a chance to provide care over time.”

Our jobs, lives, and sense of normalcy are feeling a little uncertain right now and you may be home with a child (or several) for an indeterminate amount of time...but social distancing does NOT mean you have to feel alone! We are here for you.

One way to think of this time is as an  “unanticipated staycation;” in that spirit, below are some suggestions / ideas for what to do if you and your family are practicing social distancing:

Mama Pro-Tip → Start your day (and your kiddos’) by showering and getting dressed in non-pajama clothes. This can make a big difference in your productivity and your outlook!

For Pregnant Mamas:

For Kids:

Start by having a family meeting - share thoughts, talk about concerns, and discuss your plan for the next several weeks. Providing a safe space for your children to talk or ask about what’s happening is crucial; here and here are some great articles if you’re looking for help with these conversations. 

Mama Pro-Tip → Plan your days out (check out this sample schedule) and if possible, please make sure to plan some
solo / self-care time.

Ages 0-2:

  • tummy time! 
  • breastmilk popsicles (if you’re with a teething babe these are lifesavers)
  • finger paints 
  • sensory play (some ideas here)

Ages 2-4:

  • homemade play-dough 
  • science experiments (replicate this kid-friendly video on hand-washing or check these out)
  • temp tattoos or face paint 
  • make slime 
  • sensory play (follow #flisattable on IG for some great ideas)
  • this list from @yummytoddlerfood on IG has a ton of (free!) suggestions, as does @busytoddler

Ages 4 and up:

  • start some seeds - teach kids about plants/plant parts, plus you can transplant outside once the weather warms up and have fresh herbs and veggies or gorgeous flowers to enjoy!
  • get creative in the kitchen (try this vegan “nice cream,” these PB&J squares, these carrot cake bites, or any other tasty and healthy options here)
  • online yoga for kids (Cosmic Kids Yoga is free, or grab a set of Yoga Pretzel flashcards)
  • card games/puzzles/Mad Libs - oldies but goodies!
  • online art classes or storytimes (check out @macbarnett for a great kid-friendly option; @wendymac and @carsonellis also have offerings)

Mama Pro-Tip → Don’t get too hung up in replicating exactly what your kids would be doing in a formal classroom setting. Now can also be a great time to teach them how to cook or bake, how to do laundry, how to sew on a button or change the oil in a car, or the great intangibles of treating others with respect and empathy...not all learning is academic!

All Ages:

    • read/quiet time (contemplative togetherness time can strengthen your family bond)
    • living room picnic or tea party
    • home organization/declutter - silver lining: you have time to tackle those projects now!
    • exercise - if you have a yard, get outside and kick a soccer ball around or play tag...if not, have a silly aerobics class in your living room to your kiddos’ favorite playlists
    • arts and crafts (some favorites: sticker books, washable markers, Water Wow pads, coloring books, rock painting, and collages out of pompoms, pipe cleaners, and old magazines)
    • "camp” in your backyard or your living room (build a blanket tent, pile pillows and mattresses up, make s’mores in the oven, and play by flashlight!
    • FaceTime or video chat with loved ones (especially the grandparents...they are likely scared and really missing their grandkids)
    • meditate (GoNoodle or Headspace have great options for kids’ mindfulness exercises)
    • virtual museum tours
    • keep the learning going and check out free online classrooms and STEM activities 

      Mama Pro-Tip → take a page from Montessori philosophy; if you get toys/books to entertain your kids, dole them out in small amounts rather than all at once. You will keep a steady supply of new activities/surprises and your kids are less likely to get bored or burned out.

      Additional Resources:

      Also check out this HUGE list of FREE Online Learning Resources or this Facebook group for more ideas and support!

      And for YOU:

      The best thing for your kids is to have a mother who feels full and capable.

       A few suggestions on what self-care can look like during this time:

      • Nature Walks / Beach walk
      • Listening to a podcast
      • Meditation/ Prayer
      • Journaling
      • Body Movement
      • Breath work
      • Sleep / Nap
      • Reading
      • Bath
      • Sex! (this supposedly helps support a healthy immune system)

      If you have any suggestions or free resources to offer the community - please email rachel@weareamma.com

      We are better and stronger together.