Family, Journal

Tips on Surviving Social Isolation with Your Kids and Coach—From a Teacher

On the most Friday the 13th ever, the entire state of Louisiana was essentially shut down in a matter of minutes.

Louisiana saw the reported cases of COVID-19 double overnight. Emergency meetings were held by those above our pay grade, and decisions were quickly made. Sports and schools have been suspended for at least the next month in a proactive attempt to keep us safe and healthy.

No matter how you feel about the situation, the reality of it is that it is happening. Your kids are at home for the next month. Your coach is at home for the next month (with no sports, gasp). You are likely to be home for the next month. HOW WILL WE SURVIVE?!

My introverted heart is honestly so happy to be told to stay home and limit social interactions. I also just returned from maternity leave a few weeks ago, so this bonus time to snuggle with and sniff my new baby is such a GIFT (she smells so good, ya’ll!).

As much as I’d love to sit and rock that beautiful baby all day long, the reality of the situation is that I have a soon-to-be five-year-old pre-k student and a three-year-old who will fight all day or burn the house to the ground if left to their own devices.

I also have a husband who cannot keep still for five minutes and is so disappointed to see his season come to a screeching halt. 

In an attempt to keep the crazy at bay, here are some suggestions for what to do with your people for the next few weeks from a teacher’s point of view (you know, someone who is used to keeping twenty kids alive and productive for eight hours a day). 

Rhythms and Routines

Humans are creatures of habit, and coaching families are used to operating on a schedule.

Small children especially thrive on routine, and all you-know-what will break loose quickly if there is a free-for-all for the next month.

We will go back to our regular routines at some point and are setting ourselves up for failure if we abandon all sense of normalcy now.

We also truly don’t know how long social isolation will be our new normal, and how long can we really sit around and binge-watch anyway? 

Think about your daily rhythms and routines. Map out what your days typically look like. Block out times during the day for certain things. Here is an example: 

  • Wake up, get dressed, and eat breakfast before 8 o’clock. It might be tempting to sleep in, but getting up around your usual times will help keep everything normal. 
  • 8:00- 9:00: Academic Activity  

Read a book, do math flash cards, or work on handwriting. Do anything to keep your children learning. Your schools may be offering virtual school or even sent home resources. Most teachers I know would be happy to give you suggestions. Look at the skills your children have been learning and get to Googling. We live in a time where you can find everything online. We are so lucky! Many academic sites are offering free resources at this time. Take advantage. Khan Academy, BrainPop, Mystery Science, and Eureka Math are only a few of my favorites. Teachers Pay Teachers is an AMAZING site where teachers post resources to help one another throughout the year. Parents can create an account and find a wealth of resources for their children there. Search for review work or fluency practice for your child’s grade level. Lots of things are free, but you might also be helping to support a teacher who may be worrying about finances during this time. 

-9:00-10:00: Chores

-10:00-11:00: Free Play / Creative Time 

Think building, coloring, board games, Play- Doh. Busy Toddler is a favorite of mine to follow on Instagram for great ideas on how to keep younger children occupied.

-11:00-12:00: Lunch 

-12:00-1:30: Academic Activity 

-1:30-3:00: Rest (Naps for younger children or screen time)

-3:00-5:00: Outside/ Play Time 

-Follow your regular evening routines for dinner, baths, and bed. 

Rest and Reflection 

No matter your views on the COVID-19 situation, keep your priorities straight and your heart in check.

Try to see this extra time with your family as the blessing that it is.

Put sleeping bags in the living room to have movies and popcorn as a family. Turn on some music and have dance parties in the kitchen. Eat dinner together and just TALK to each other. 

All sports are cancelled, y’all … every night can be an at-home date night with your spouse!

Put your phones away.

Netflix and chill, game film and chill, or enjoy an adult beverage together after you put the kids to bed.

Read a book together.

Pray together.

Just enjoy this rare time together.

I know this sports season might have been a good one you are sad about losing, but God might be giving you something even GREATER.