If you are one of the many families finding themselves at home more than usual during the COVID-19 pandemic, you’ve likely had your share of ups and downs over the months. While many families have enjoyed the additional family time, cabin fever is taking its toll. Here are some tips for staying sane with kids during quarantine.
Wash, rinse, repeat
If you’re familiar with the hilarious movie Groundhog Day, you know that the repetition drove Bill Murray’s character nuts, but ended up being a transformative experience. Comedy aside, routines are great for everyone—especially children. Perhaps you’ve gotten lax and found bedtime creeping later and later. After a time, you’ll likely see the effects of the shifting bedtime appear in your little one’s behavior or even a baby sleep problem.
Even if you’re not reporting into the office for work, try to keep the entire family on a predictable schedule with lots of structure. This means waking at the same time, taking meals at the same times, and, most importantly, going to bed at the same time each night. Not only will your children’s bodies get used to the rhythm of days and nights, but the entire family will also benefit from the predictability.
It may be helpful to create a visual chart with blocks of time for older children to follow. A table or posted schedule also reinforces the fact that there is a routine to follow each day. This doesn’t mean that you need to repeat the same duties, chores, and errands each day, but you want to keep your sleeping and waking windows the same.
No matter where you are in the country, temperatures are moderate enough to spend quality time outdoors. And if you have a mobile baby, one of the best aids for sleep training toddler is to get them moving. While you may not have time to travel to a dedicated hiking or bike trail each day, you can take walks around your neighborhood or pencil in long blocks of time for play in the yard.
Check-in with your partner, your kids, and yourself
If you’re dealing with heightened stress and anxiety, understand that your children feel it too. Many parents have reported behavioral changes with their kids during quarantine, including mental health concerns and disrupted sleep patterns or sleep regressions. The chaos and uncertainty of the outside world are out of your control, but you can control the level of chaos at home.
Periodically check-in with your immediate family members to see how they’re feeling, what their concerns are, and to talk about any issues that arise. As isolating as quarantine is, now is the time to work on connection with your family. Again, having a daily structure and regime that is consistent and predictable will help everyone in the family.
If you find that you’re having difficulty drafting a consistent nap and sleep routine and are suffering from baby sleep problems as a result, I’m here to help. I’ve helped many Philadelphia families create schedules that work for them and ensure that everyone can get healthy sleep their bodies need. Schedule your complimentary 15-minute phone consultation today.