"So often in life, things that you regard as an impediment turn out to be great, good fortune." - RBG
Have you been able to find the silver lining of this great pause? A lot of us are spending more time together as a family, rediscovering our love of board games and puzzles, and working on our crafting skills. Life has slowed down, and maybe that's exactly what we all needed.
This slowing down has also allowed us to create new habits - whether good or bad. Here are 5 of the best "mom hacks" we have found during the quarantine. This list is all about creating balance, generating activity, & allowing for independent learning so you can find time & space to get more done. Sure, some of these items on this list may not be great for your stage of motherhood, so pass it on to other moms who may need some new ideas.
1. Online Resources
A lot of moms are having a hard time keeping kids entertained and fighting the dreaded "bored" word - for yourself as well as your kids. While you are the captain of the ship, you don't have to be the only director of activities. There are so many free resources in your community and online to help you facilitate learning while giving yourself time to accomplish other tasks.
Sure, we all want to limit screen time, especially while kids are in virtual school right now. Create a dedicated time for screens during the day and try to stick within that timeframe. Set timers to help you and the kiddo stay on track.
For younger kids, try online storytimes! Check out of free Storytime with Mrs. Susan library when you need 30-45 minutes or join us on Thursdays at 9:30 for a live reading. Mrs. Susan always brings toys to help her tell the story so kids are entertained and educated at the same time.
There are a lot of online educational resources online for older kids - many of which don't feel like "school" at all. In March, we shared 15 different online educational activities for kids, which you can check out here.
2. Go Outside
Yes, fresh air is one of the best energizers and playmates. Take your normal activities outside. Playing a board game? Do it on your porch or driveway. Have a picnic in your backyard for lunch. When working on math problems, take to the driveway with chalk and have your learning lessons outside. A simple change of scenery will do wonders for your mental wellness and theirs.
For science learning, try noticing your own nature surroundings & create scavenger hunts. For more information about nature in WNC, check out Asheville Farmstead School's "noticing nature" tips here.
3. Create a Currency System
Sometimes, it can seem like bribery, but reward/currency systems have been shown to help parents create structured touchpoints of praise & education while teaching kids valuable life lessons. But, you have to find the right currency for your kids - and each one is different. Some kids will respond well to earning stickers, while others will thrive off of moving marbles from one jar to the next. Older kids may appreciate earning actual money to purchase the items they want.
Studies show kids who are involved in picking the currency and choosing the ending reward have higher success rates than kids who don't get to decide. Ask them to be involved and then teach them ways of earning - and losing - currency depending on their actions.
4. Learn Together
Find a new hobby to learn with your kids like baking, dance classes, loom knitting, or gardening. Try to pick something that interests both you and the kiddo so you both are invested in the learning process. Choose a dedicated time each day to work on your hobby together and stick to the schedule.
Allow this to be a creative outlet for you and the kiddo. Don't strive for perfection & appreciate all of the little fingerprints on your new hobby.
5. Schedule Self-Care
You need "you time", mama. How you get that time and what you do with it is up to you, but you need that rejuvenation moment each day. Whether you need to wake up earlier than your kids or you need to take a break during the day, schedule your "you time" as if it is an important meeting with your boss.