Lock Down + 10 Things to do with Little Kids Stuck at Home
Updated: Apr 11
This is a really weird time we’re living in. It’s a mess. And I’m actually not sleeping at night because of it. But also, the internet has some of the funniest memes I’ve seen in my life.
But I should apologize to everyone right now, because I might have caused this.
Four weeks ago, I was feeling so overwhelmed about a messy house and not being able to get caught up and I just wanted everything to stop. Not forever, just long enough that I could get the laundry put away, organize a few rooms, bake some new recipes, finish a few TV shows. Get back to a happy place instead of an I’m sucking at everything place. In an all too common venting session I looked to my mom and said “I just wish the world would take a break for a few weeks so I can catch up!”
And boom. Here we are.
To be honest, life under lock down doesn’t look too different for me day-to-day. I’m used to not sleeping much. I’m used to making the kids three meals and all the snacks in between. And I’m used to being home all day aside from a daily drive to get coffee (although I really should use this time to kick that habit).
In fact, this feels so common that my kids haven’t even noticed the sky falling around them. They’re disappointed they haven’t seen Grandma in a while and they’re not thrilled that every time they ask to invite a friend over the answer has been no (except for Devyn and Londyn…because it feels like were on lockdown with the LaBrucherie’s and Brammer’s and I’m not mad about it).
And everyone’s hearts broke a little when "Mr. Neece” rejected a hug and kindly asked the girls to stay 6 feet away. That was rough but I think Bob McNeece felt the worst about it.
I know they’re little and they don’t understand the magnitude of what’s going on. But while I joke that nothing’s changed in my immediate life, please don’t confuse that with me not taking this seriously.
I’m very aware that the history books will include this crap we’re currently living through. It will mention the global pandemic due to advanced travel, the response from leaders, an analysis of what did and what didn’t stop the spread, the layoffs, and economy's response. Plus a heartbreaking graphic of the death toll on a bar chart next to other pandemics from modern history.
But I doubt it’ll cover the small ways we stayed resilient. The bike rides, birthday drive-by’s, and family dinners at the kitchen table. Or the Zoom chats, FaceTime, and social media hashtags that held us together socially despite being physically apart.
As I write this there have been 43 positive cases of COVID-19 in the Imperial County, but just a week ago it was 9. It’s a scary time to live in and as hard as it is for this family of extroverts, we are actively staying away from people, even close friends and family. We’re doing all the things to make this a fun time for the girls as long as we can because they’re just too young to recognize how unfun this situation is.
So if you’re looking for some ways to stay positive and make good memories, I’ve listed a few below. But most importantly, write your own history and preserve it for them because I guarantee they’ll be asking you about this later.
1. Sidewalk messages aka #ChalkYourWalk My kids stay entertained with chalk for half an hour. Crosley is into drawing stick figures with normal sized bodies but arms and legs that span the length of our drive way. Blythe is into sitting in one spot and drawing arcs around herself like a rainbow. But the kids are especially happy when I color with them so I’ll add something funny or inspirational because these are tough times and it’s nice to share some positivity with the strangers walking by.
2. Nerf gun war with Dad. This is my favorite thing EVER! Leave a note on the door for Dad that says he’s entering a war zone. When Dad’s a few minutes home from work (or Walmart pick-up), give the kids a Nerf gun with ammo and everyone hide. When he walks through the door, the game is on!
3. Facetime a New Friend
Kids are always meeting new people at parks and parties and I think it helps keep social anxiety at bay. I have lots of distant friends with kids that have never met our girls, so we introduce them over the phone and let them take it from there. I get to catch up on laundry while they show off their bedrooms and favorite toys.
4. Surprise Snail Mail! Make art and mail it to friends unexpectedly. Teach the kids a new art technique, like water coloring, spin art, washi tape, or finger painting with boogers (just kidding, that might actually spread the coronavirus) and then send it to a friend! Bonus points if they’re old because I imagine they’re feeling especially socially distant right now.
5. Chore Together. Sometimes I try to do things like laundry, sweeping, gardening, or washing the car while the kids nap, but it makes so much more sense to let them see me working! It takes a little longer, but they like to help, it keeps them from asking for a snack every 15 minutes, and they see what hard work looks like (and the fruits of labor too). I can only imagine we’re all sleeping better because of it.
6. Banana Swirls Who said screen time is all bad? Cros asked me if we had any bananas because she wanted to make “Banana Swirls”. She directed me to put two peeled bananas in the freezer for 10 minutes, then put them in the blender and BAM! Banana Swirls! Thanks Daniel Tiger, it was just what we needed on a sunny day. Rolling homemade ice cream in cans is another great thing to make! So simple and so good.
7. Blanket Forts I like everything to be in its place so it was a little hard for me to let the girls take out ALL the blankets and move ALL the chairs to make a living room fort, but to witness the pride they had in what they built, and the imagination in all those rooms they had under a coffee table was totally worth the scratch from an unbraced chair falling on Pottery Barn mahogany wood. Plus they got a good lesson on how to fold a blanket when it was all done.
10. Write your kids a letter
Kids don’t understand what the world is going through, but they won’t be little forever, so take this time to talk to your adult child. You can tell them what it feels like, what you’re scared of, how you cope. We add letters to the girls’ boxes often and I expect I’ll give it to them some day a long time from now. Maybe when they’re 18, maybe when they’re married, or have their first child. I know I won’t be the same person then because life events will likely change me. And I’m sure these strong-willed little girls will challenge me and question why I did things, but maybe through these letters they will understand and see me not only as a mother but as a relatable friend. Or even an old pen pal.
What fun things have you guys been doing in between all this obsessive hand washing?