For some of you, this will be the first time you’re stuck at home long-term with the kiddos, no childcare and no social life. Since I have plenty of experience with this situation from being a military spouse for nearly two decades, I’m gonna give you some protips. It’s bad but it’s survivable.
Here’s the key tips:
1. Kids need to burn off steam, outside, as much as possible. Get them outside, let them play. Keep them outside. Did I mention keeping them outside?
2. Everybody will need space. Sometimes you need to tell the kids to be somewhere else for your sanity and their safety. Sometimes they will need you to be somewhere else too.
3. Home morale starts with a full belly. Have some fun cooking, take your time and try something new. Use the time you would have spent commuting to up your game in the kitchen. Eating together is a good time to catch up and have fun. Sometimes everyone needs dessert.
4. The kids want to help. Give them tasks/goals/etc. - let them try to do stuff on their own and praise them when they try even if they completely stuff it. Teach them skills that will serve them well for a lifetime - whether that’s life skills or a hobby.
5. Always de-escalate. Empathize with frustrations, listen, and then try to address points of friction. Explain when you can’t.
6. Remember accidents happen. Things will break. Kids will do stupid things that should have got them killed several times over. Get them to learn a lesson rather than being pissed. They will understand and appreciate you explaining what went wrong and how it can be avoided in future.
7. Routine is good - for everyone. Kids especially. They are looking for structure - provide it. That might be in terms of keeping to a schedule of schoolwork, knowing that Monday is pizza night, or the fact they need to be heading up to bed at a certain hour.
8. Never forget that you are important, whether you’re working or not. Keep active, and make sure you give yourself a treat sometime. Don’t be afraid to spend a couple of bucks on a game on Steam or subscribe to HBO. You’re doing the most important job in the universe - taking care of the next generation.
9. Hug your kids every night and tell them you love them. If the situation is FUBAR tell them it will be ok. Even when you know it’s not. They’ll remember this time vividly. Don’t mess it up.
10. Set a goal for yourself when things get back to normal. Get your ass to Disneyland or buy yourself that car you always wanted when you make it through to the other side. You’ve earned it.
Take care of yourselves everyone and wash your damn hands.