5 Top Tips for Thriving in Quarantine with Kids

Making Art

Are you planning to quarantine with small children? Nervous that one of you might not make it out alive? Well, then this blog post is for you! Here are some tips, tricks and ideas from my 21 day hotel quarantine with a toddler that will not only help you survive, but THRIVE!

Pipe-cleaners came in very handy for dramatic play and role playing. I had them in a few activity bags as well as in the Survival Kit.
  1. 1. Stick to a Schedule
  2. Young children thrive within set boundaries and routine. Whether you are quarantining with another adult or doing it solo, take time to write down a daily schedule and try to stick to it. It will not only help your little ones find comfort in knowing what comes next but it will help keep you sane by having to only focus on the next thing scheduled rather than thinking about the entire day ahead. Meals, naps, bedtime, high energy activities, quiet time etc. should all have a set time slot which will help keep make everyone feel more settled.
Here is the schedule that my husband and I used when we had our 21 day hotel stint. My husband had to work and be on calls at certain times of the day and we arranged the schedule as to accommodate that.

2. Schedule Screen Time

Screen time should also be scheduled. From my experience, if I use the iPad or TV shows willy-nilly, transitions become more challenging, tempers flare and tantrums increase. It may feel good at the time to give in and let your kiddo watch a show or two but you will pay for it. Make screen time an event, have a start time and an end time and switch up what is being consumed. One day have a movie, the next games on the iPad and another can be shows.

3. Prepare a Survival Kit

If you are quarantining in a hotel, make sure to prepare a Survival Kit. Just like you would not go out into the wilderness unprepared, the same goes for hotel quarantine! Tools, art supplies and basic stationary items are a must to ensure you have everything you need to stay alive! Items such as scissors, glue & stick glue, markers, crayons, a stapler, string, an exacto knife or box cutter, masking tape, clear tape, sticky tack, pipe cleaners, play-dough, modelling clay, paint brush and a watercolor set are a must!

Simple art supplies such as oil pastels and watercolor are great for multiple ages and easy to clean-up.
Modelling clay is a must as it is not crumbly like play dough and can attach to toys and figurines for imaginative play.
Use the modelling clay to add wings, equipment and appendages to your little ones favorite toys!

4. Pre-Plan & Prepare Activities

THIS SAVED ME! Before my trip and inevitable quarantine, I planned 21 different themes to help anchor each day’s activities. I then printed off coloring sheets, gathered stickers, toys from home, toys, treats and other items that would help support the theme. Because creativity happens within boundaries, having a theme helps you come-up with ideas in the moment, coordinate movies, shows, games and books that go along with the theme and imaginative play ideas. You’ll be amazed at what you come up with when you have a theme to base your ideas off of and I guarantee you will enjoy it as much as your little one will.

Each bag included items found in my house or classroom and all the coloring sheets were found free on the internet.
I also included some new toys and treats that went with the theme to keep things exciting and made sure to space out the bags with new toys.
Here is an example of a pre-planned activity in the ‘Fairy Tale’ activity bag. I prepared a cardboard sword cut-out and some tin foil to make some equipment for our little knight.

The above list includes the themes I came up with based on the interests of my child as well as the toys and books I knew I had access to. The themes could obviously vary based on the age and interests of your child.

5. Make Something from Nothing

Creativity is not only making something out of nothing but also making something despite everything! Boxes, containers, scrap paper, cushions and blankets all can become something new and different keeping you and your kids entertained. Then using the theme and the items from your Survival Kit can aid you in making magic by creating something from nothing. So save those empty containers and cardboard boxes as you can use them for hours of fun that encourage creativity, teamwork and problem solving.

I turned this box and cardboard scraps into a Paw Patrol Command Center and gas station using my exacto knife from my Survival Kit.
We created a fire truck on ‘Fire Rescue Day’ using all things we had available in our hotel room and Survival Kit.

A few other items that we enjoyed and used often were Coloring My Bath Tablets, Melissa & Doug Stick-able Sticker Book, National Geographic Readers books and a foldable step stool for water play in the sink as we did not have one in our hotel.

Remember if you are calm, collected and settled, then so will your kids. Try your best to look for the positives in the situation – no commitments, simple living and uninterrupted together time. Before you know it, it will be over and when life is crazy and chaotic you will reminisce about having nothing to do by play with your kids in a hotel room.

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