Dear Barb—Stir Crazy

Dear Barb:

Hi, because of the corona virus my husband and I have been off work and home with our kids for seven days and we are already stressed out.  I know it’s the right thing to do, but, oh my god, I don’t know how stay at home parents do it.  I have a seven- and eight-year old and they are constantly fighting and I am usually the referee.  My husband seems to be finding stuff to do in the garage, so I am left with the kids.  I am attempting to keep up their reading and math skills and their teachers sent home some stuff for them to work on.  I now know why I didn’t become a teacher!  I can’t even send them to their grandparents, as that is too risky, since my mom has a heart condition.  I am also expected to do my own work from home, I am an accountant, so it’s looking like I will have to do this after the kids go to bed since I need to concentrate.  I need some words of encouragement to get through this, as no one seems to know how long it will go on.  Do you have any suggestions to make this time flow easier for our family and probably many others? Thanks, Sandra. 

Hi Sandra:

It’s not an easy transition for families, but we have no choice unless we want what happened in China, Italy, and Spain to happen in Canada.  The best thing for you, your husband, and your children is to make a schedule.  For example, every morning the kids can do their school work and of course you will have to be available for them; therefore you don’t want to get involved in your own work, as you will be constantly interrupted.

The Government of Ontario has a website offering educational sites for parents and children.  Afterward you could all go for a morning hike or some snow shoeing to burn off the excess energy before lunch.  Your husband could spend the morning on his work, while the kids are your responsibility.  That should bring you to lunch time.  After a family lunch, you could spend some time working, but make it clear to your children that you are not to be disturbed.  So perhaps this could be their time to watch a movie, or play video games, or dad could take them out for a hockey or basketball game—in the driveway, as parks are no longer a safe place to be—of course, this depends on the weather.  This is just an example of a schedule you could implement; following a routine will help everyone to get through this time of self isolation.  Kids do better when they have a schedule to follow.  As well there are many websites that offer activities and games for children.  This is one for children under 10 which you may find useful.

I don’t know how helpful this has been; hopefully we will all find our way through this and be able to look forward to an enjoyable summer.  Thank you for your letter Sandra.

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