Five Tips For Staying Sane Inside With Kids by Frolic Co-Founder Sarah Penna

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[Note from Frolic: We’re so excited to have Frolic Co-Founder Sarah Penna posting on the site today! She’s sharing her tips for staying at home with kids during this difficult time.]

While I am happy for everyone without kiddos who gets to catch up on their TBR and binge watch Netflix during the day, if you do have kids, staring down 2-3 weeks of being confined to your home can be, well, overwhelming. I have a 5 year old and we’ve already been home bound for 7 days because he had a fever, cough and ear infection last week. So, I’m here as a grizzled veteran of being trapped inside with a small human for days on end and have a few tips that I’ve learned over the last week. Tweet us @onfrolic with what you’re doing to stay sane, we’ll share our favorites to spread the love. Also, if you are struggling with how to talk to kids about what’s going on, this is a good resource. 

1. Maintain Routine during the week but let go of it on the weekends.

This may not apply to everyone, but my child thrives on routine so we tried to keep it simple and keep it consistent during the week. We have him get up, eat normal breakfast, brush teeth, change out of his PJs and set a schedule from 8am-2:30 (which is how long he’s in school for). I spend no more than 20 min the night before making a plan and he is so happy to move from station to station and do art, science and a few simple lesson plans. I am by no means a Pinterest mom, but luckily, there are a lot of great Pinterest moms out there so I downloaded a lot of free PDFs of things to trace, color, match etc. After 2:30 and on the weekends, I’m letting him watch more TV and iPad time than I normally would because…pandemic times are weird. Here are a few moms to follow on IG for ideas of what to do: @busytoddler, @mothercould, @inspiremyplay, @bringingupbabe

2. Podcasts

Did you know there are a lot of great podcasts for kids? If you’re feeling like you need to limit their screen time, podcasts are a great way of entertaining them. Our two favorites are Wow In The World  and Story Pirates. If you have older kiddos, I’ve heard great things about Science Friday and Book Club For Kids. While my son listens to podcasts, I grab my book and give myself a break too. 

3. Nature Walks

It’s been raining all week here in LA, making the homebound situation all the more stressful but when there are breaks in the rain, we’ve taken quick walks around the block and when it gets warmer we will be doing hikes since you can keep up with social distancing on the trail. To make it more fun we grab some binoculars and see if we can find bugs or collect rocks. 

4. Dance Party

Even if we can’t get outside because of the rain, my child is VERY high energy and needs to get his wiggles out. We made a playlist of his favorite songs and every hour we turn it on and dance. It makes us all giggle and gives me peace of mind that even if we are just lounging around the rest of the day at least we have some moments of getting our bodies moving. If you need a place to start, here are 5 songs from our playlist:

1. Thunder, Imagine Dragons
2. We Will Rock You, Queen
3. You’ve Got a Friend In Me, Randy Newman (from Toy Story)
4. Hand Clap, Fitz and The Tantrums
5. Sunflower, Swae Lee and Post Malone 

5. Taste Tests

We do this in normal times to encourage him to eat new foods, but it takes up a bunch of time and is super fun. I know we’re all concerned about food right now, but you can use small quantities and I often do this with fruit that only has 1-2 days left on its shelf life. Get 4-5 small bowls, fill them with different foods (we usually do fruits, but can be anything), get a blank piece of paper and write the name of the food, options for tastes (ie: sweet, sour, crunchy, soft, yucky, yummy) and a smiley face and a frowny face. See example of mine below. This doesn’t require you to buy anything new/fancy and can be done multiple times. 

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Bonus: if you want to see what day 6 looked like for my family, we were going so stiry crazy that my husband dragged our bouncey house inside and made our living room into a giant playground for a few hours. It was loud and crazy but felt special and got a lot of energy out!  

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So that’s it, I would love to hear from you during this strange time on how you are keeping your kids entertained. Stay healthy and safe and sending lots of love to you all! 

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