The global pandemic has made stay-at-home parents out of so many of us. According to Pew Research, about 18% of U.S. parents were already home with their children, although “at home” is somewhat of a misnomer, since no one navigates the playgroup/playdate scene quite like a S-A-H parent.
Here are some tips for the newly anointed:
1) Shift your mindset away from “what am I missing by being home,” to “I’m here with you right now.” In other words, be present. Yes, being forced to stay home is very different from choosing (or being lucky enough to get to choose) to be a S-A-H parent. But that’s even more reason to stay present. This will go by fast.
2) Stop cleaning all the time. There’s little more maddening that picking up the same toys, only to trip on them five minutes later, all day long. Limit your cleaning. Choose a time to pick up the house, and accept the chaos otherwise. Exception: Magntiles. Those slippery suckers can kill you.
3) Routine is important. Try to start your day with it, or end your day with it. It’s not about inflexibility, it’s about maintaining predictability, for you and for them. We have a morning meeting. It doesn’t have to be too long, but without it, we all forget what day it is.
4) Schedule your break ahead of time. If you’re lucky enough to have two caregivers home, schedule your breaks, and try to stick to them with the fidelity you would a business call. Breaks are a Zoom meeting just for yourself. If you’re parenting solo, then send the kids off to Youtube land, or Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood for a little while. Everyone needs a break.
5) Expand the living room, virtually. If your kids are accustomed to school, gymnastics and three playdates a week, then tap into the resources available. Teachers are still teaching, sing-alongs are still singing, and puppeteers are still…puppeteering. Check out Calendarkiddo’s Virtual Event Calendar and digital resources, and try a few things out for size.