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Quarantine Tips and Tricks COVID-19 Children's Wisconsin

Staying busy during a COVID-19 quarantine


With schools and daycares across the state closed for the foreseeable future due to COVID-19, thousands of kids are suddenly home and looking for something to do. Below are some tips to help your kids — and you! — navigate this new and uncertain time.

Create a routine or daily schedule. Creating a new routine for your time at home will help your child know what to expect, which enhances their sense of control. Include wake up/bed times, meal times, screen time and activity time into your routine. Other ideas include: chore/task time, art time, reading time and alone/quiet time.

Have and keep rules for behavior. It may be tempting to let rules and boundaries slide during this time, but children feel secure when they know what behaviors are expected. Keep clear rules and consistent consequences during your time at home. This is important on any normal day.

Self-expression activities. Young children are still learning how to communicate. This can make expressing their fears about the changes in their lives challenging. Use creative methods such as play, art or music to give your child healthy ways to express their thoughts and feelings.

Video chat. Stay in touch with friends and family members by using video chat such as FaceTime or Skype. This can help you and your child feel connected to the people you care about.

Get active. Take time every day to exercise. This can help everyone in your family feel strong and healthy. Bonus: it will also help your child burn off some energy! Try family-geared yoga videos or make an indoor obstacle course. YouTube is a great resource for finding family friendly exercise videos.

Practice mindfulness. Make time each today to practice mindfulness. This will help everyone in your family cope with the stress of being cooped up inside.

Here are a few mindfulness suggestions:

  • Deep breathing

    • Hot chocolate breathing: Have everyone pretend as though they are holding a warm cup of hot chocolate in their hands. Ask each person what flavor theirs is. Next, blow two short, slow breathes out (as if cooling down a warm drink). Then pretend to sip your hot chocolate. Repeat!

    • Elevator breathing: Breathe in as you slowly raise both arms all the way to the sky. Breathe out as you slowly reach both hands all the way to the ground. Repeat as many times as needed.

Try something new. Make the most of your time together and learn something new as a family. Try out some new card games, create a family art project or learn a fun dance routine together.

Self-care. Take care of yourself. This should be a daily priority. Take a bubble bath, read a book or watch your favorite TV show after the kids go to bed. This can help your family get the best of you, not the rest of you!

Keep busy. Below are some ideas for simple activities you can do in your home to keep your child busy during these long days.

Arts and crafts

  • Pudding paint

  • Make slime/goop/play dough

  • Tape and paper towns

  • Sock puppets/shadow puppets/paper bag puppets

  • Paper plate masks or animals

Bathtub play

  • Toy car wash

  • Plastic animal bath day

  • Glow in the dark bath with glow sticks and fun music

  • Add shaving cream, finger paints or bubbles to the tub

Cardboard box play

  • Drive-in movie: Make a box car and popcorn, sit in the cars and watch a movie as a family

  • Obstacle course: pillows, furniture, boxes

  • Travel the world by box: Make an airplane, boat or car and go on pretend travels

Reading time

  • Read stories in funny voices

  • Act out favorite stories

  • Make drawings/art projects based on favorite books

  • Play create-a-story games: Sit in a circle and each person takes turns adding one sentence at a time to tell the story. For more fun, add one word at a time instead of one sentence.

Music

  • Make homemade instruments using empty plastic bottles and rice/beans

  • Have a family parade

  • Dance party

Writing time

  • Make a scrapbook that describes your activities during your days home from work/school

  • Write down 10 things that you make you feel happy, thankful, sad, excited or angry.

  • Write your own story

Other activities

  • Fort building

  • Scavenger hunt

  • Hide and seek

  • Baking and cooking
  • Spa day: foot baths, painting nails, homemade facemasks