Ways to cope if you’re stuck at home. Whether you’re isolating, snowed in, or at home with a baby, these ideas help you create structure & fight boredom.
Whether you’re stuck at home due to a snow storm, or isolating, the idea of breaking from your normal routines and staying at home can be daunting.
Our family is practicing some serious social distancing due to COVID-19.
We live near Seattle, and it feels like the whole area is moving towards work-from-home and doing more schooling virtually for the time being.
With all of this uncertainty, I’m trying my best to come up with a plan to create a “new normal” for us if we do need to stay at home for a few weeks.
Things to Do With Kids When You’re Stuck at Home
The suggestions in this article are meant to spark ideas, and help you come up with your own game plan. Of course, everyone’s situation is different. Pick and choose the ideas that will work for you!
Establish a New Routine
You may be shut in for a few days, isolating for a couple of weeks, or need to stay home with a new baby.
Whatever the case, you need to establish a new routine to give your days some structure and predictability.
That doesn’t mean you can change things up every once in a while, but having a basic plan for your days helps – especially if your children are normally in school and they’re used to their teacher’s routines.
Here are some ideas for things you might want to include in your family’s at-home routine:
- Meals and meal prep – If your kids are old enough, now would be a good time for them to learn how to cook and help out in the kitchen. Start making a list of dishes your kids have prepared so they can see their growth over time. Try to keep meal times consistent.
- Naps/rest time/alone time – If you’re stuck at home for a long period of time, you’re going to get on each other’s nerves. Plan for an hour or so when everyone goes to their own part of the house and does their own thing, whether that’s napping, resting, or doing an independent project.
- Learning time – Your children may be getting assignments from school, or you may want to have them work on educational activities. Set aside learning time each day so they stay on track.
- Outside time – If possible, get outside! Even if it’s cold out, a quick walk outdoors to get some fresh air is good for everyone.
- Exercise time – This could be doing an exercise video, going for a run (if you can), or doing a short yoga class online. Even if you don’t normally exercise, incorporating movement into your day will help you feel better!
- Free time/play time – Time to play with toys, do a creative project, etc.
- Screen time – Watch an old baseball game or a movie. Catch up on some of your favorite shows together. Let kids play whatever games you think are appropriate. Reserve screen time for later in the day when everyone is cranky!
- Reading time – Have a quiet time when the whole family reads/looks at books together.
- Daily theme – Many homeschooling parents use a “daily theme” to their weekly routines. If you find that you have a lot you want to do, having daily themes can help you plan, and help your children feel like they know what to expect.
It also helps to make sure everyone gets dressed every day. That just makes everyone feel a little more normal.
Specific Activities and Ideas to Do with Kids
- Now’s the time to break open those board games and puzzles! Try to play all of the games and do all of the puzzles. This will also help you figure out which games and puzzles are worth keeping, and which ones you can declutter. Here are some great options on Amazon.
- Do a read-aloud, then watch the movie – Find a book the whole family can read together, then watch the movie after you’ve finished the book!
- Facetime or Skype with friends and relatives. We are testing out Zoom as a way to get our whole family together in one big meeting.
- Homeschool? If you suddenly find the need to homeschool, this page has great resources for getting started when homeschooling wasn’t exactly in your plans.
- Play active video games – Break out your old Wii Fit, or play Just Dance on your Nintendo Switch! Your kids will love teaching you how to play if you don’t already. Here are some active video games on Amazon.
- Gather up your art supplies and do some fun projects – check Instagram and Pinterest for easy craft ideas. Or, sign up for a creative class on BluPrint (they sometimes offer free trial periods so you can check it out first!).
- Learn how to do geocaching in your area – a fun outdoor activity. 🙂
- Bake or cook a new recipe each day.
- Check out online learning options like Adventure Academy or ABC Mouse.
- Take a picture every day of something that’s growing – trees, flowers, plants, or even kids!
- Make a running list of all of the animals or birds you can see from your house. This is especially good if you live in a wooded or rural area where there are more animals to see!
- Have a “Word of the Day” and try to use it as much as possible over the course of the day.
- Do science experiments using supplies you have around the house – our favorite has always been the “volcano” made with baking soda and vinegar.
- Plant seedlings in your house or plant a garden outdoors. Tend to your plants each day.
- Declutter and organize your house (I had to throw that one in! :-))
Home Project Ideas
- Finish one of these home organization projects you can do in a day (or less).
- Do a Pantry Inventory – What do you have on hand, and what will you need in the next few days/weeks? Get a clear picture of what you already have so you know what to get the next time you buy groceries.
- Set up a Home Command Central – I did this a few years ago, and it’s so nice! It’s basically a place where you go to process all of the papers, emails, and to-dos for your home. In the linked article, I show how I set up a command central in the bedroom of our last house.
- Organize Your Email Inbox – Now’s the time to do this! Take some time to get your email inbox cleared out and organized. It’s so satisfying to complete this project!
- Organize Your Children’s Toys – Kids love having an organized space to play. Will they mess it up right away? Probably! But, now’s a good time to declutter and set up some systems for keeping things organized.
- Listen to a Podcast – Perfect for keeping you company while you’re doing a project, cooking, or just need a distraction.
- 10-Minute Decluttering and Organizing Tasks – each week you’ll get a new checklist with small tasks to work on for each day. Lasts for 6 weeks.
- Paper Organization Challenge – perfect for passing the time when you’re stuck at home.
More Ideas For When You’re Stuck at Home
- Start a new Pinterest board for organizing projects you’d like to do. Go here to find lots of good pins for decluttering and organizing.
- Doing more online shopping now? You might like this cashless envelope system.
- Thinking of starting your own business? This Small Business Roadmap can help – free!
- Earn Amazon gift cards by scanning your receipts on the Fetch Rewards app. We’ve been using this app for a couple of months, and we’ve already earned
$23 $26 $34
As I get more ideas, I’ll add them to this list. Bookmark this page or pin it to Pinterest so you can save the ideas for later!
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- How to get your kids to pick up their toys with a family helper jar