How should you approach the coming weeks with the kids home from school?
With many families and communities facing school closures, including myself, it’s important to head into the next few weeks prepared. With clarity and organization, we can make this already stressful period in our lives easier to bear.
Here are some general tips on how to handle the next few weeks with some/all of the kids at home for an indefinite amount of time.
- Get dressed
Without the stress of making the bus, mornings might start later and be more relaxed. It could be tempting to just stay in pajamas all day but do insist that everyone get dressed. That gives the day a feeling of normalcy and productivity.
Stick to a routine as much as possible. Try and imitate the school schedule somewhat, so that the day is structured around davening, play time, formal reading/studying, lunch etc. Remember: you’re essentially homeschooling your kids, it’s not a vacation! (See a suggested schedule here).
Handwashing should be mandatory, scheduled, and fun! You’re the safe-keeper of your family and are instituting multiple handwashing breaks throughout the day. Make it fun by singing a song or getting special foamy/colorful soap.
- Exercise and Fresh Air
Incorporate exercise and movement games throughout the day so that the kids don’t go stir crazy and have a chance to release some pent-up energy. If you’re not required to stay indoors, make it a point to go out for at least an hour every day. The change of scenery and fresh air will work wonders. And if you are stuck indoors – who said you can’t play hopscotch or jump rope?
- Time Off for Mommy
Schedule daily Mommy time! This isn’t the time to be strict about your weekends-only video policy. Explain to your children that in different circumstances, rules change. When they’re home from school, they can watch more often. Use that time to relax and consciously recharge your batteries.
- Stress: no, Fun: yes
Try and keep the anxiety and stress to a minimum. Resist checking the news too often, put your phone away for an hour or two at a time, in order to be present and calm with your children. Have impromptu dance parties and read jokes; be silly and just have a good time!
This is the year to keep Pesach cleaning to a minimum. It’s not the time to organize your closets or wash the windows. Keeping your children safe and happy is the priority. You will get rid of the chometz and bring in Pesach regardless of whether your chandelier was polished or not.
If we enter into this period with a clear vision of what we want – calm, happy children and a relaxed, happy mother – and are somewhat prepared on how to achieve it, Hashem will surely help and provide the rest.
Wishing you all a safe, uneventful month!