Let us guess - you're spending more time at home these days, probably more than ever before. Between working from home and impromptu homeschooling, the house is a busy place these days - we know ours sure is. For everyone's sanity, it's important to establish some ground rules so that your haven can remain just that: a place to relax.
Now we know what you're probably thinking: "My house hasn't been a haven in ages!" Trust us - you are NOT alone. Whether having everyone home is new or the norm for your family, we're all struggling to adjust. Lucky for you, we're here to listen and restore order to your chaotic lives.
Here are some common complaints we've heard from parents and our personal suggestions on how to combat them:
Complaint #1: "My kitchen table has turned into a home office and kids' craft table."
The kitchen might be the most popular room in the home, because… who doesn't like to eat?! When everyone's stuck at home, this is where we all want to hang out - and it can become a storage hub for all of our stuff.
If you want your kitchen table back, kindly ask your family members to clean up their belongings when they're done using them - we know this should be common sense, but asking never hurts.
For your kids' crafts, check out our blog on setting up a craft space at home. Whether you have a little or a lot of space, we have suggestions. If you're working from home now, consider setting up a proper work station away from the kitchen - say goodbye to noisy distractions and delicious aromas.
Our solution: Create a designated space for the activities that overtook your kitchen table in the first place.
Complaint #2: "Now that everyone's home all the time, there's nowhere quiet I can escape to."
Ditto! If you're feeling this way, imagine how your kids feel. Quiet time is SO important for us to process our thoughts, feelings and experiences - and to regain some of our sanity lost in a house of chaotic noise.
Perhaps you can try implementing quiet hours so that everyone follows the same schedule. We like to have one quiet hour after lunch, whether it's spent napping, reading or simply relaxing. Maybe you set quiet hours for the morning and night, so between the hours of 9pm-7am, the house is silent.
If this sounds impossible for your household, that's ok! Instead, try spending more time outdoors. Take up gardening, hiking or cycling as a way to spend more alone time out of the house, or set up some activities for your children in the backyard. Perhaps you could create a list of outdoor chores your kids can do.
Our solution: Find a way to coexist with your family that allows for each member to have some form of quiet time, whether that means coordinated activities, more outside time or set bedtimes.
Complaint #3: "I'm running out of activities to do with my kids since they're home all the time now."
We feel you! After a while, you might be tempted to simply turn on the TV and let your kids zone out - especially when they're begging for it, - but we know better.
Kids are happier when they're engaged, so that's why we made this 35-page screen-free kids guide just for you! Now you can choose at-home arts and crafts activities over time spent in front of the television.
Our solution: Have a list of screen-free ideas ready to go so you can simply consult the list and let your kids choose what they want to do. Ready to jump onboard? Check out our hands-on, educational craft kits here!
Complaint #4: "I've noticed my children are getting increasingly anxious listening to the news reports and COVID-19 restriction updates."
You've heard it before and we're going to say it again: no one could have predicted a global pandemic in 2020. No one knew the emotional and psychological effects it was going to have on us as people, as parents and as children. If you notice your child is increasingly anxious, here's one of the best (and easiest) ways to help them:
"Play provides both tension relief and a safe space to tackle difficult topics," says Katie Hurley, LCSW, a Los Angeles-based psychotherapist and author of The Happy Kid Handbook. "Children use imaginary play and all kinds of manipulatives (dolls, stuffed animals, building bricks, etc.) to express emotions that are difficult to articulate." During the pandemic, for example, Hurley says kids may set up a town with walls around it to represent their fears.
So, get down on the floor or the dirt in your backyard and play with your kids! They'll love that you're taking an interest in their activity, and you'll soothe their anxiety all at once. Physical exercise is also a great way to get out of our heads and release anxiety. Walking the dog, finding an outdoor space for a game of ball or chase, or heading off for a local hike are all good remedies that help calm us down.
Do you have more concerns that we didn't answer here? We want to know! Shoot us an email using our contact page or send us a direct message on social media. We'd love to hear more about your journey as a parent, whether that be your success stories or struggles.
Looking for more ways to entertain your kids without the use of screens and electronics? Download our 35-page screen-free kids guide here!