We’re all navigating new territory these days, so if you find yourself running out of ways to cope with the extra time at home you’re not alone!
Dayna Childress (@helloquadruplets) is mum to five, including a set of adorable infant quadruplets. Here’s how she’s tackling the day-to-day of social isolation with five children at home:
1. Get ready like you would usually. I always feel better when I’m dressed and ready vs staying in my pj’s all day.
2. Find new things to do together. I started making a point to cook or bake every day and I have my oldest son ‘help’ me get it all ready.
3. Go outside. I got my pram out and packed all the kids up and we go on a long walk together.
4. Squeeze in some ‘me’ time wherever you can. Once everyone is asleep with their Owlet Smart Socks & Cams on, I get myself a tea, sit on my garden and enjoy the quiet, while checking on everyone through my phone.
5. Don’t be afraid of extra screen time. There’s a lot of extra time to fill during these days while no one’s going anywhere. Kids need a lot of attention so don’t feel bad letting them have that extra screen time if you need a moment to recoup.
First-time mum Sarah Kohan (@sarakohan) shares her advice on staying sane at home with a little one.
Let’s be real: being quarantined with a super active infant at home for the past 18 days has been, to say the least, has been challenging! After the first week, I realized I had to find little activities we could do around the garden and house together so we could both feel like our minds were active and to tire the little guy out.
1. Find new activities
This is tricky! I had to improvise so that we both got some time outside and didn’t get cabin fever.
The first activity we did was a tour around the garden and talking about all the plants outside. Noah loves being outside and was entertained by this for a while. He wanted to touch and feel all of the textures on the leaves and loved watching everything sway in the wind.
We have pebbles in the garden and Noah will pick them up, investigates them and then after he finds the perfect stones he will bang them together to make some music for a few minutes! I can’t wait until he is a little older and wants to do some pebble painting!
We also set up a swing set in the garden. I found an inexpensive set on Amazon that keeps him so happy and busy. He was just starting to love going to the park and watching the other kids while on the swing before the quarantine hit so this is a perfect alternative.
To complete our at-home playground I’ve also ordered a sandpit! Like most babies, Noah loves playing with sand and it’s so good for their developmental skills—moving the sand and placing it in objects, feeling the texture and consistency of it all and practicing sitting and standing in it. This will provide hours of fun for little Noah outside while he gets some fresh air, vitamin D and takes a break from being cooped up inside. One important thing to note when purchasing a sandpit: make sure it comes with a cover that fits it perfectly to stop any animals from crawling into it at night and leaving bacteria that can make your little ones sick.
2. Stick to your pre-quarantine schedule
My number one rule during this lockdown has been to try to stick to the daily schedule we had before we were told to stay home. Otherwise, it just feels like all the days and weeks melt into each other. It just doesn’t work for me and certainly doesn’t work for Noah. Having structure to our day and making sure we’re waking up and going to bed as consistently as possible has really helped me stay positive and focused throughout the day. With all the uncertainty around right now, it’s nice to have some certainty within our household.
3. Take some me time
I get my me time every time I put Noah down for a nap. It’s my chance twice a day for 1-1.5 hours to have some time alone to drink some tea, take in some vitamin D in the garden and appreciate that we still have our health right now. I also like to engage in my favorite hobbies, including painting, reading, working out and planning and dreaming career-wise. Keeping those little bits of me and allowing myself to do these activities instead of only doing the monotonous (and never-ending!)household chores keeps sane while stuck inside and unable to go out.
Another tip I have found so important during this time is to keep in touch with your friends and family and anyone who may be vulnerable at this time. This is a scary time for everyone and with forced isolation, it can be easy to forget about others, but for your mental health reach out through FaceTime, talk on the phone, send pictures and stay in touch with loved ones. It can help you feel less alone and still part of your community.
4. Tackle your to-do list
This for me was sleep training. Time has kept on ticking since Noah was 6 months old and I could never find the right time to sleep train. I had been researching so many different methods and they all seemed so hard and I was already exhausted from multiple wake ups a night. So when we found out we were going to have to be home in quarantine for a minimum of two weeks I thought it was the perfect time to nap train and nighttime sleep train. Up until now Noah had been taking his naps in my arms or the stroller and waking every three hours (sometimes every hour) at night as he couldn’t self soothe. I would put Noah down to sleep at 7 and he would wake less than an hour later. Then I would have to continually soothe him for hours—sometimes until 10pm! Bottom line: this has been a lifesaver for my mental health and the little guy can now self soothe and have a restful sleep!
5. Get sucked into cooking
I used to love cooking before I had a baby when it seemed like I had all the time in the world. Obviously, that changed over the past 9 months and I never really felt like I had time to cook. However, since the lockdown, I have made it my priority to cook the things I had been craving, while putting a creative twist on things to make them healthier than the traditional recipe.
I have now made numerous batches of banana bread, potato bakes, ribs, spaghetti bolognese, spaghetti carbonara, nachos, chicken soup (one of Noah’s favorites!) lamb chops and Milanese! Cooking has served as another outlet for my creativity but we’re also introducing Noah to flavors and foods and allows him to eat and enjoy baby-led-weaning style. He is at the stage now where when he sees food he will start trying to grab it or he makes noises hinting he wants to try some!