Being a divorced parent means you have to handle complex situations and emotions that crop up, seemingly constantly. Now, with the added challenge of the Coronavirus situation, you may have even more on your plate than ever before, including finding things to do at home with the kids as a divorced parent.
Some of you may have had to change your child care scheduling, trips and vacations, even who is primarily watching the children during the day. Some divorced parents have even had to reconfigure their usual routines to quarantine family members who are ill!
Most divorced parents can come to the agreement that they want to help their children remain as stress free as possible, so with that in mind, we are here for you with advice and ideas for things to do at home with the kids for divorced parents.
The Child Mind Institute has a few basic tips to share:
- Keep a schedule: The Child Mind Institute recommends keeping a schedule. Pointing out that “consistency and structure are calming during times of stress”. They also recommend that you print out a schedule and have notice for transitions within the day and we recommend you do the same for your custody schedule since you may be outside of the normal flow of your daily life.
- Limit consumption of news for everyone’s benefit.
- Manage your reactions and anxiety. You can model good reasoning – focusing on how we can keep each other safe, but if you find yourself feeling extremely anxious or catastrophizing, avoid talking about your concerns in front of children.
- Get outside when possible while social distancing. Fresh air in the form of a simple walk or hike can make a world of difference
- Make plans! Planning for the future keeps the focus on getting through this and that there will be an end to this strangeness
- Stay connected virtually with family and friends
- Craft creative ways to keep busy – We’ve got you covered with some amazing ideas and resources for that right here!
Keep Their Minds Focused During “Stay-at-Home” Orders
So here are some wonderful ideas and resources to keep their minds busy and focused on positive things.
- Be creative with hobbies and activities. You might have family game time in the evening or do puzzles, but now you can add a creative element like choosing country puzzles and carrying that country theme into other parts of your life like cooking meals or crafting projects. Or you might choose animal puzzles with further exploration of that species throughout the week until the next puzzle.
- Listen to age appropriate podcasts together and discuss them.
- Play board games together the same time each day or evening. Try new ones you have never played before.
- Check out our resource list below for science projects, musical activities and crafts, imagination games, and creative projects. One example: build a city or town out of recyclable materials. This type of project can become a real source of pride and excitement as they bring a world to life over many days or weeks.
- Build an obstacle course, inside or outside, complex or simple. It can bring joy (and some much needed exercise) to a stagnant day. Have your kids build the next one.
- Have a family meeting and choose household projects to complete. Is it time to make an in-ground fire pit with a few bricks and some sand? Is it time to start that garden? Perhaps you want to paint some rooms or order chalkboard paint to one wall for chalk art creative expression.
- Participate in a neighborhood “Bear Challenge” or “Zoo Scavenger Hunt”. Some neighborhoods around the country are putting stuffed bears in their windows or front yards for children to find and count on their daily walks.
- Cook your way through a cookbook together.
- Start a letter writing habit. Kids can make cards and then send them “old school” style, through the actual mail (or for the littlest ones you can make a mailbox out of cardboard and just play all kinds of mail games they create naturally).
- Read to each other. Or play school, but you be the student!
Create Good Memories
Some have suggested that as long as the coronavirus doesn’t come directly to our doors, our children may remember this as a special, quieter time when their parents had more time for them. They may remember it as an unusual period when there was a calmness and togetherness to their days that felt special.
We can’t know that for sure, but we can surely do everything in our power to make the most of this time with our precious children, no matter how you and your ex spouse divided the childcare, no matter how complicated things get, simple pleasures together are immensely valuable.
Stay Healthy, Arizona!
Resources and References for Divorced Parents and Coronavirus
Important psychological considerations
Creative things to do