Surviving Social Isolation with Pre-School Kids

Surviving Social Isolation with Pre-School Kids

It’s been a little over a week and a half now since Boris told us all to stay home. We are all in different boats when it comes to all sorts of things – our jobs, our homes, our financial circumstances, our families. But I thought I would write a quick blog post from my perspective showing how I am coping – maybe this might help you too.

For background, I am a stay at home mum (although I do a bit of part time work from home) to a 2 year old and a 4 year old. My husband is working from home full time, during this period of craziness. We live in a nice house with a garden. I am still doing a little bit of work at nights but we are largely able to live off my husband’s salary. And for all of that, I am so grateful. But it’s still hard. It’s OK to feel lucky but also struggle. I think that’s the biggest thing I am learning from this… multiple seemingly contrasting feelings can cohabitate in your mind and it’s OK.

Take things one day at a time

No one knows how long this period of lock down will last. I’m finding it helpful just to take each day as it comes and not to think ahead too much.

Relax all the rules

On day one of lock down I wrote a schedule for the week, detailing how we would spend each hour of the next five days. How long did we stick to it? Not even for a single second. Now, our days are taking on a rough rhythm – a walk, some TV/iPad time, some art or playing with toys, lunch, some more TV/iPad time, some more playing then maybe rounding off the day with a movie.

I think at the start of the lock down period I kept seeing the words ‘home education’ and feeling in a panic that we would have to spend all day every day sitting down at a table practicing things like writing. And if we didn’t, my kids would fall behind their peers – I was especially worried about my daughter who is due to start school this Summer. But now, I am looking at things from a different perspective. Sitting and chatting with your child about what they are watching on TV = education. Playing shops = education. Getting your kids to help make lunch = education.

Make your own expectations realistic

I had all these crazy ideas at the start about how I was going to sort out my kitchen cupboards and declutter my wardrobe. But my priorities are looking after the kids, keeping the household fed, keeping the house in reasonable condition (which doesn’t mean it has to be immaculately clean and tidy) and doing a bit of work. That’s enough.

Take advantage of the slower pace of life

Life pre-lock down was always rushed. We had to be at playgroup at 9, no earlier, no later. A sports class at 1. Dinner had to be at 5, bath at 6, bed at 7. So much of the day was spend looking at the time and shouting at the kids to hurry up because we would be late. Now? There are no deadlines and we have lots of time. Here are some of the things that we are doing now time is no longer of the essence:

  • I am getting the kids to tidy up their toys, the kids are helping to make their own meals and snacks, and my eldest is consistently getting herself dressed in the mornings – these are all things I would usually take over myself because it was quicker to do so. Now? We have all the time in the world.
  • We are becoming better at implementing a discipline system that actually seems to be working for the kids – before we were very inconsistent so nothing had any effect. Now, we are doing a nightly behavioural tick chart for my eldest, just focusing on a handful of behaviours. We are also using a ‘time out’ chair to great effect.
Look after yourself

It’s very easy when you are home 24/7 to neglect the basics. I must admit there have been a couple of days where I have put the kids to bed and realised that I have not consumed even a drop of water that day. You are important too, so take care of yourself.

Practice gratitude

‘There is always something to be thankful for’ this is true now more than ever. I am thankful that this is all happening as we come into Spring, as opposed to Winter. I am thankful for our health. I am thankful for this time together. I am thankful for our garden.

For anyone dealing with feelings of loneliness during isolation, I’ve found this post with some great tips.

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