Being at home with kids for an extended amount of time became a reality for most families in 2020. When you find yourself home with kids for longer than expected, the minutes, days, and hours can drag on. Here are some ways you can take advantage to help make your time at home the best time ever for your family.
4 tips to make the most of your time at home with kids:
#1 Stop, Breathe, and Pray (SBP)
Bottom line: You cannot give what you do not have! If you are feeling frustrated, worried, angry, or worn out, there is NO way you are going to have kind, compliant, peaceful, happy children! You see, in times of stress, our brains unconsciously move us into functioning in the lower centers where we have access to only a limited amount of skills (think: “fight, flight, or freeze”). However, when feeling safe, we can function in our upper brain centers, where we can think logically, thoughtfully, and be able to respond rather than react to difficult situations.
The single most effective way to move from the lower to the upper centers of the brain is by using SBP! Since you can only give from what you have, you have to FIRST get a handle on this. If you want a deeper explanation, click here for a short video.
#2 Make a Daily Schedule
Something else we know about our magnificent brains is that they look for – and crave – repeating patterns in order to feel safe. Think of how God created our world with order: The way the earth orbits the sun; the phases of the moon, the life cycle of a plant, animal, or a human.
In this same way, when we wake up about the same time each day, go about our activities in approximately the same order, and go to sleep about the same time, we are creating and fulfilling patterns for our brains.
If your kids – and YOU – are suddenly finding yourselves at home for an extended period of time, try to adhere to a schedule as much as possible. Include your kids in the decision making and know it doesn’t have to be strict – but it IS going to help everyone know what to expect from day to day.
Sample Daily Schedule:
- 8 – 9 am Wake up/Eat/Get ready for the day
- 9 – 11 am Outside Time: Together (walk, ride bikes, go to a park – please stay away from public places like museums since we’re trying to reduce contact to stem the tide of this virus)
- 11 – 12 pm Cleaning/Organizing: Tackle a home project, go through closets/drawers/toys and donate!
- 12 – 1 pm Lunch and Connect (More on this in point #3)
- 1 – 4 pm Learning Time: Reading (to them or on their own), working on puzzles, legos, making play-doh, writing in journals or drawing pictures to illustrate stories. You could also use Khan Academy or other free online resources to keep educational skills from waning.
- 4 – 5 pm Dinner and Connect
- 5 – 6 pm Clean, Connect, and Prepare for tomorrow
- 6 – 8 pm Family Time
- 8 – 9 pm Bedtime
Feeling overwhelmed with creating, and then maintaining, a family schedule? We’ve got 2 Easy Ways to Create (and keep) A Family Schedule!
#3 Connect with your Kids
At Connect Point Moms, we always say that Connection Creates Cooperation, because it’s TRUE.
Think about a time when you and your spouse were really feeling connected; happy about and grateful for each other. Imagine you are snuggling on the couch enjoying a movie, then you get up to go into the kitchen. If he asks you for a glass of water, what would you say? Perhaps you’d say: “Sure, Honey-Bear! Would you like ice and lemon?”
Now, imagine that you are not getting along so well: You’re feeling hurt that he forgot to make dinner reservations again and he’s feeling angry that you are making such a big deal about it. So, you are now sitting on separate couches watching a movie that neither of you even like. You get up to go to the kitchen. If he asks you for a glass of water, what would you say? “You got legs, get it yourself!” “Are your arms broken?” Or maybe you WOULD get it for him, but you wouldn’t feel really happy about it, right?
It is the same with our children: When they feel connected with us, they WANT to cooperate with us!
So, when you are eating meals with your kids put your phone away, look them in the eyes.
Ask them silly questions like:
- If you HAD to lose an arm or a leg, which would you choose and why?
- If you had a choice to always walk backward or always walk on your hands, which would you choose?
- If you could visit anywhere in the world, where would it be?
But here’s the thing: YOU HAVE TO BE PRESENT (remember SBP?) in the moment to connect with them! Really listen to their answers and resist the temptation to correct them or teach them. When your mind wanders, just breathe and bring it back to where your body is in this moment. It may seem like a little thing, but it will make all the difference in your relationship.
#4 Trust in the Lover of your Soul
Things happen in life that can be pretty scary. But are you forgetting to Whom you belong? Are you worrying about a loss of paycheck? Or wondering how you are going to keep your kids entertained at home? If these worries get too big, you are going to miss the gift that Jesus has given you! His Word promises that He will never leave or forsake you, (Hebrews 13:5). He loves you with an everlasting love (Jeremiah 31:3). Give Him all your anxiety because He cares for you (1 Peter 5:7). Lord, teach me to number my days that I may get a heart of wisdom (Psalm 90:12)!
Connect Point Moms helps you create stronger relational connections with the children in your life. This starts with being aware of your own stuff so you can BE PRESENT with your children in the moment you’re in, and then knowing and using the best ways to communicate with them! For quick, helpful parenting videos, find “Kate Connects” on YouTube or join our Facebook group to find encouraging, supportive moms struggling through it all together!