Surviving Quarantine with Your Toddler

May 19, 2020

Wouldn’t it be nice if you and your beloved toddler felt more like you are thriving, rather than surviving, this yet-to-be-determined quarantine? We hope we can help you do just that. If you are trying to juggle work along with your other children’s schooling as well as preschool for your toddler – there is no easy path.

Tips For  Navigating Life While It’s Still “Safer-at-Home”

However, there are a few tips and tricks we want to share. The good news is that consistently warmer and sunnier days are ahead, which can help us all gain access to more outdoor time and peace of mind.

1. Work outside whenever possible

Most Wi-Fi connections are available outdoors as long as your table/chair is close enough to the external walls and modem. Give it a test run. If it doesn’t work, contact your wireless internet provider to discuss their hotspot options, many of which may be free as businesses work to support working/teaching parents during this extended quarantine period.

Being able to work outside on your computer means your toddler has more time to play outside as well, which can be a win-win for both of you. Most toddlers play much happier – and for more extended periods of time – outdoors rather than in. Another bonus? The more kids and adults play outside, the better they sleep at night

2. Look for a sand table and other in/outdoor play equipment

Online sources like craigslist, Nextdoor, Freecycle, and others are great places for finding used toddler toys to keep your little ones entertained. Things such as sand/rice play tables, kiddie pools, playhouses, and high-quality play equipment are available for free or very low-cost. You can even post an ad offering to pick these things up, which may flag the interest of someone who has been meaning to get rid of their no-long-used kid toys.

3. Make sure they’re doing age-appropriate chores

While toddlers and young children certainly deserve lots of free time to imagine, explore, and play, it’s also true that we Americans may shelter for longer than they want. Children between the ages of two- and five-years-old can be helpful and productive in many ways, and their confidence will soar when they feel like capable, competent members of the household.

Examples of chores perfect for toddlers ages two- to three-years-old include helping to keep pet food/water dishes full (with supervision), picking up their toys when they are finished, helping to make their beds, dusting, and more. Examples of chores or responsibilities ideal for four- and five-year-olds include clearing the table, pulling weeds, putting clean utensils away, unloading light groceries. Click Here for more examples of age-appropriate chores and responsibilities.

4. Have realistic expectations about attention spans

The reality is that younger children have shorter attention spans, which vary from child-to-child, and by innate activity level. Getting a reality check about your child’s attention span can help you create a more realistic rhythm in your day- and that rhythm is going to mean your willingness to adapt to more interruptions.

Most toddlers between the ages of two to three years old will rarely engage with any activity for longer than 10 to 15 minutes at a time without interpersonal engagement. That means you’re better off typing a single email, and then getting back on the floor to play for a bit, setting up a new activity for your toddler, and then getting one more thing (or half of a thing) of yours accomplished before getting outside for a bit, etc.

5. Online dance/exercise classes

Sure, toddlers can disappear for hours into a tablet or gadget, but who wants the guilt associated with that? You can honor your intuitive sense around digital stimulation/regulation by making sure there’s a physical activity to go along with it. YouTube channels such as Sam Cam offer toddler dance classes and exercise videos to keep toddlers active and entertained.

6. Enlist professional support

You are not alone. Parents are struggling all over the world – and right in your neighborhood. We’re all working to navigate this situation with grace and some semblance of sanity and kindness. If you feel you need help, good for you for being honest and asking for what you need. You can visit KC Healthy Kids to learn more about the resources available to you and your family.

The team here at Women’s Health Associates is hoping we’re all on the home stretch of flattening the curve by sheltering-in-place. Please feel free to contact us if you need support or a professional referral.