I’m pretty sure we can all agree that the last couple of weeks have been pretty crazy. The whole world has been turned upside down, and many if not most of us are finding ourselves in an at home quarantine for the time being. And this can be a bit challenging when you have little kids.
For some of us, quarantine looks an awful lot like our normal daily life. Some of us are blessed to be living in areas where we can still get out with the kids and still keep our distance from others. For others, staying at home all day every day for the foreseeable future is quite the change from our normal daily lives.
No matter what scenario you fall into, quarantine is hard. On all of us. And that includes your kids, too!
Time will pass and soon enough we’ll be back to our normal lives. But in the meantime, here are some tips to help you through this unexpected time at home with your young children.
This post may contain affiliate links. Read my full disclosure here. I am not a medical professional, and this is not medical advice. Always consult your personal doctor or pediatrician first.
Survive Quarantine With Little Kids
Staying Healthy At Home
Obviously during this time, your first and foremost goal should be to stay healthy and well.
1. Wash Your Hands Well
Get in the habit now of washing your hands before you leave your house, and as soon as you return home. That means every time you run to the grocery store, and every time you have to run an errand or go to an appointment. Really, even if you just ran out to the mailbox real quick, wash your hands when you get back inside.
Washing your hands frequently and every time you enter your house will help to prevent any illnesses from coming in with you. And be sure to have each of your kids wash their hands as well–no matter how old they are!
But frequency isn’t enough–you also need to make sure you are washing them well. That means you need to wash them with warm water and soap, for at least 20 seconds each and every time.
2. Cover Your Coughs And Sneezes
Anytime you need to cough or sneeze, cover your nose and mouth with your hand or the crook of your elbow. This prevents any potential sickness you may be carrying from spreading into the air and onto surfaces where others could catch it.
If you have a baby, you may want to avoid coughing into your elbow unless it’s your only choice. Instead, try to cough into your hand instead and immediately wash your hands afterward. When you cough into your sleeve, any germs tend to stay there all day or until you change clothes or shower.
And if you have a baby, you’re likely using those same elbows to cradle your baby. To help prevent your baby from getting sick, coughing into your hands helps keep any germs away from baby, since you are more likely to wash your hands before you clean your elbow. Just be sure to wash your hands immediately to prevent spreading anything through touch!
3. Stay Away From Others When Possible
Of course, if you have not been exposed to any illnesses or anyone who is sick, the best course of action is to stay away from others as much as possible. If you are healthy and well, social distancing can help prevent you from catching anything from others. It also prevents you from spreading it around if you are a carrier with no symptoms.
That’s why some serious illnesses have called for mass quarantine. Because quarantining yourself from others who are sick helps to prevent you from getting sick. But it also helps prevent others to not get sick from you, even if you have no symptoms!
4. Up Your Vitamin C Intake
Vitamin C is known for helping to keep your body and immune system healthy and well. If you’re facing a time of quarantine, it wouldn’t hurt to add in some extra Vitamin C into your diet, as well as your children’s diets.
Don’t feel like this has to be in the form of a supplement. You can easily get some extra Vitamin C from citrus fruits and orange juice.
5. Keep Breastfeeding
If you are facing a quarantine due to sickness–whether you have it or are trying to avoid it–you will likely be able to continue breastfeeding. Of course, always check with your doctor if you are unsure. But in general, it’s actually good to continue breastfeeding when you are sick or there is a lot of sickness going around.
You body is able to make antibodies to fight sickness and pass them through to your baby through your milk. For that reason, breastfeeding through sickness is very beneficial for your baby!
Of course, some sicknesses may prevent you from being able to safely nurse (think respiratory illnesses that are easily passed through the air). In these cases, you likely will be able to continue to breastfeed by pumping or expressing breast milk. Then, someone else can bottle feed the breast milk to your baby.
If sickness has you quarantined and you become ill yourself, be sure to check with your doctor to ensure it is still safe for you to continue to breastfeed. If the answer is no, ask about possibly pumping your milk and allowing a healthy family member to bottle feed for you.
Use Your Resources Wisely During Quarantine
During a period of quarantine, you’ll likely need to be careful about how you use your available resources. This may simply be because you can’t leave the house in order to get more supplies you may need.
Or, in more severe situations, you may find that certain products are just hard to come by (toilet paper, anyone?). In either case, it’s important to be smart about how you use what you already have and what you are able to get.
6. Use Grocery Pickup Or Delivery
In situations where you are quarantined because you are avoiding sickness, you may find it helpful to use a grocery pickup service at your favorite grocery store. Many grocery stores are now including free grocery pickup at their stores.
Using grocery pickup can help eliminate your need to enter a store in order to get supplies. Which, in turn, limits your potential exposure to any illness that’s circulating around. This is especially ideal when you have a baby or little kids. Of course, it also saves a ton of time and is much easier than bringing your child into the store with you.
Alternatively, a quarantine situation in which you are sick yourself, or don’t want to leave the house at all, grocery delivery may be the better option for you. One delivery service that delivers groceries right to your door is Amazon Pantry.
Amazon Pantry allows you to get your groceries delivered right to your door at a flat rate. And if you have an Amazon Prime membership (which I highly recommend getting if you don’t already), you can get free 2-hour delivery and pickup in some cities when you order from Amazon’s Whole Foods Market.
If you don’t have Prime but are interested in getting it, you can sign up here for a 30-day free trial!
7. Be Prepared–Not Hoarding
As I’m writing this post, pretty much the whole country is under quarantine due to the new virus. And with that, has come the panic that has driven the vast majority of people to hoard anything and everything they thought they would need in the coming months.
Which, unfortunately, has left pretty much all of us struggling to get the things we need. From groceries, to diapers and wipes, to cleaning supplies, and more, the word “quarantine” has a way of sending us spinning into a state of panic.
Look, it is absolutely okay to be prepared. It is okay to take care of your family, and grab a little extra if you think you really need to. By all means, be as reasonably prepared as you can be if you find yourself in a quarantined situation.
But don’t hoard. Don’t panic buy. Don’t stock up on things you don’t usually buy or use. And don’t get sucked into some panic driven need to go out and buy all the toilet paper. Be smart–not fear driven.
8. Swap To Cloth Diapers And Wipes
Now, if you find yourself in a situation where diapers and wipes become scarce, consider using the opportunity to swap to cloth diapers (Nora’s Nursery are my favorites!). Yes, I am aware that it’s not realistic for everyone. I’m aware that not everyone wants to cloth diaper, or has ready access to a washing machine to clean them. And not everyone has the money to make the upfront investment. I get it. Honestly, I do.
But, if you truly cannot find diapers and wipes anywhere, it is an option to help you stretch your resources. And believe it or not, you really don’t need hundreds of dollars to invest in it. Sure, getting every supply you might need is the ideal situation.
But the truth is you could definitely make the switch with just twelve to eighteen diapers. Depending on how old your baby is and how often diaper changes need to be made, you really only need enough to get you through one day at a time to get started. That may sound a little crazy to you, but if your quarantine situation truly gets bad and the need truly arises, consider making the swap, even if you have to start very small.
Related Read: 7 Compelling Benefits of Cloth Diapers vs Disposable
9. Alternatively, Potty Train
If you don’t want to switch to cloth diapers, you might consider starting potty training instead. Of course, this will only work if your child is old enough and ready to potty train. But, assuming you aren’t sick yourself, a quarantine time may be the perfect opportunity to give it a try.
We actually decided to start potty training right before the whole country-wide quarantine situation started. And it ended up being the perfect time for us! We were stuck home all day anyway, and the weather was wet and rainy. We didn’t feel like we were missing out on outside time, and gave us plenty of time to focus on the training. Two weeks later he’s got a pretty good handle on it!
10. Avoid Excess/Wasted Food
I know this can be hard with little kids, but definitely try to avoid excess or wasted food. Quarantines can often bring with them a shortage of supplies, whether it’s because you can’t get to the store or because there’s an actual shortage.
One way to avoid this waste is to meal plan and shop strategically. Buy what you need, and only cook enough to feed your family for that meal. Alternatively, if you can’t make that work, try having a leftover night to ensure leftover food gets eaten.
Take Advantage Of The Time At Home
If you’re going to be stuck at home for a long period of time, definitely try to make the most of it. This is important both for us as moms and for our kids!
11. Get Outside When Possible
Have a backyard? Great! Get outside. Sunshine is good for your body, and your mind. If you have any chance to get out and get some sun while still keeping your distance, do it.
Getting out will also help it to feel less like you’re stuck at home, which will help improve your mental and emotional health during a quarantine. And of course, help your sanity by letting your little ones get out and run off some of that extra energy!
12. Stick To A Routine
Yes, a lot of things go out the window when you have an unexpected quarantine–especially when you and your kids aren’t used to being home that much. Don’t feel like you have to keep a strict schedule. Take the opportunity to do some fun stuff with your kids, let loose a bit, and take a break from the normal.
But also don’t be afraid to implement some sort of routine for your time spent home. Kids and adults thrive off routine, and it can help the days pass smoothly and happily.
13. Find Creative Activities For Toddlers
Being stuck at home can be hard on toddlers, too. Especially if you don’t have a backyard or area you can safely get outside everyday. To help combat the excess energy, try doing some creative activities at home.
Don’t feel like you have to do activities all day every day. Even a short time of organized activity can help to curb the crazy that often comes from being stuck home too long.
If you’re looking for some new activities that you can do right at home, I have a brand new activity pack filled with easy toddler activities! Busy Bee Learning is perfect for at home activities, and takes the stress and work out of toddler activities. Plus, it helps teach important skills your toddler needs to learn. You can learn more or get it here.
14. Get Some Projects Done
Quarantine is pretty much the perfect time to get some at home projects done. Include your kids any chance you get—the work is good for them, and can help them feel better too!
Knock out some spring cleaning, organize and clean out clothes, clean up or set up the nursery. Whatever at home projects you’ve been putting off, now is a great time to check it off your list. Right now we’re working on potty training (because that is truly a project!), as well as cleaning up around our apartment.
15. Take Time To Invest In Your Family
Quarantine can suck, but try to look for the blessings hidden in it. Instead of feeling down about it, take the time to actively and intentionally invest in your family.
It’s so easy to get sucked into the busy-ness of life. And when that happens, we often neglect the people and relationships that are right in front of us. Take this time to spend quality time with your kids, spouse, and family. Reconnect as a family.
Being a mom of little kids and babies is hard, and tiring. It’s so easy to get rundown and burnt out. Time this time of being forced to stay home to relax and recharge. Learn some new skills, find a new hobby. Read a good book (or two or three). Catch up on some sleep.
Learn the art of relaxing, unwinding, and reconnecting. Do some things that breathe life into you, and refill your cup so that when this is all over, you come out refreshed and stronger for it.
Stay Mentally Healthy During Quarantine
I’m pretty sure it’s true across the board that after only a few days of quarantine, the isolation starts to get to you. Sure, it may have been nice for a little bit.
But even if you’re used to being home most of the time, being stuck there with no choice to leave can quickly get to you. And that’s why it’s super important to do what you need to do to stay mentally healthy during this time!
17. Be Aware And Prepared–But Not Fearful
Seems like every year the world gets a little bit more hazardous. And this year it has been especially true! With this new virus going around, it can be easy to become fearful. Especially when you have babies and little kids to care for—it’s incredibly easy for your mind to think through all kinds of terrible scenarios.
However, it’s very important for your mental health and sanity to not go there. Yes, you should be aware of what’s going on and prepared should life take a turn for the worst. But don’t let yourself be fearful.
It’s not healthy for you. And it’s not healthy for your kids. Remember, kids–even little babies–can sense when you’re nervous, anxious, and fearful, even if they don’t know or understand why. Lead your family to be aware of the circumstances without being afraid.
18. Take Time To Recharge
With all this extra time at home, use it for the good of your mental health! Yes, I know it’s a stressful time in the world right now. Don’t let that hinder you from taking the time to recharge.
Remember, you can’t pour into others if you yourself are empty. Use some of this time to recharge yourself and refill your cup. Do things that breathe life back into you and your family. Doing so can help you cope during the stress and get into a better mental state of mind despite circumstances.
19. Look For Positives And Silver Linings Everywhere
Do you know what one of the best ways to improve your mental state is? Looking for the good in your everyday life. Whether you believe it or not, there are positives and silver linings all around us, even in the most dire circumstances.
Look for them. Seek them out. The more you look for the good, the most you will notice it and it will come to your attention naturally. Dwelling on the bad never did anyone’s mental state any good. Focus on what’s still right and good in the world.
20. Be Generous And Give Back
I know this is a hard time, and many are struggling in many ways, financially and otherwise. But don’t let it deter you from being generous. If anything, use it as a reason to be more generous. Actively look for ways to give back and be generous with what you have.
Don’t get hung up on finances, either. Being generous isn’t always about giving money away. You can still be generous with your time, your attention, your emotions, your resources. Don’t worry about it if you can’t spare money, there are plenty of other ways to be generous to others. Much like silver linings, the more you look for opportunities to be generous, the more you will find.
What are you doing to thrive through quarantine?
Now it’s your turn. What things are you doing to not just survive, but thrive through this difficult time? What do you do to keep your sanity in tact when you’re stuck home for long periods of time? Share with me in the comments below!