During turbulent times, it always helps to take a moment to reconnect to what matters and to establish a sense of self-control and direction.
With the widespread panic and uncertainty that many of us are facing, I know that it feels very heavy and confusing out there for many. Many of you are inundated with conflicting news and updates, overwhelmed with a change in plans (school closures, vacations postponed, work shut down, work from home) and unsure of who or what to trust.
I wanted to offer some perspective as well as a dose of positivity to perhaps help you stay focused on the meaningful things unfolding all around you, every day. Regardless of the ways you’ve been impacted, I have some ideas for how you and your family can remain optimistic yet prepared and allow your life to feel a little more stable.
What I can provide are some tips that have been helping my family and many others to feel more grounded, less stressed, and more empowered.
For kids who are home from school…
Since my family has been homeschooling/unschooling this past year, we’ve managed to curate quite a collection of awesome at-home schooling resources.
- I just read this article about 12 museums that offer virtual tours of their exhibits. This would be a fun and educational activity for the whole family to do from their computer or mobile device.
- Puzzles, brain games, online learning gamesT, fort-building, reading, backyard camping, art projects, write and send letters or cards, movie night, board/card games, interactive video games like Dance Dance Revolution or trivia, or do some fun TikTok videos together
- Listen to free audio stories
- Need expert advice on mindfulness and movement for kids? Check out the videos on GoNoodle
- Here are 23 resources for homeschooling/unschooling
- Explore the surface of Mars on the Curiosity Rover
- Watch the Kindness diaries with the family on Netflix or amazon prime: Host Leon Logothetis travels the world with only a vintage motorbike and the kindness of strangers, which he pays back in unexpected, inspiring ways. One Man’s Quest to Ignite Goodwill and Transform Lives Around the World. Such a great show!
- Go ride bikes, get out and hike, or take a picnic with the family in a non-crowded area.
- Start dreaming of your next family vacation and planning together. Even if it’s a year out, it will give you all something to look forward to. We’ve found the app and website called TheCultureTrip.com to be quite informative for creating cool experiences for curious travelers.
- Create a family vision board
- Catch up on house organization, decluttering, and minimizing
- Learn some new recipes together
- Help children learn to appreciate the arts by providing them with the opportunity to play games, conduct investigations, and explore different forms of art at Artsology.com
- Consider helping your kid learn about starting a business and check out 50 business ideas for kids
- Explore children’s books read by famous people
- Learn a new language together with Duolingo
- Listen to kid-friendly podcasts and discuss them
- Facetime your friends or loved ones to stay in contact
- Practice mindfulness with your family
- Help your kids learn an appreciation for music
- Free Online Yoga for kids and teens, you’ll love
- Coding for 4-10 year olds
- Additional website links for educational and engaging activities:
- While in space, astronauts are videotaping themselves reading books to the children of Earth. These videos are being edited and placed on this Story Time From Space website– look under the heading ” Story Time Videos”.
- A list of online education services that are being offered for FREE
- The Magic School Bus Science in 180 Days is a compilation of all Magic School Bus episodes, Magic School Bus Activities and Experiments, supplemental activities and crafts, and a list of highly-rated books that support each topic being discussed.
- Online history classes for all ages, preteen through adults at Big History Project
- This site provides free educational “relief packs” to help supplement at-home learning for preschool through fourth grade.
- Learn about other cultures with CountryReports.org – 35,000 pages of online content on the different cultures and countries of the world
- At this super-cool site, you can type in any city, state, or country to view an archive of historical photographs and other documents. It’s a unique way to help children learn about history
- A helpful list of apps recommended for teachers and parents of kids with learning or special needs
- More fun games, recipes, crafts and activities at Highlights Kids
- Virtual field trips allow children to visit places around the world without ever leaving their homes. Here are several free resources your family can use to take virtual field trips, as well as another list here.
- This is an online reading game (free) that takes children on a magical journey, meeting colorful characters along the way and collecting fantastic rewards.
- Here are some illustrated recipes designed to help kids age 2-12 cook. Recipes encourage culinary skills, literacy, math and science
- Here is a spreadsheet of education companies offering free subscriptions due to school closings
- Check out All Kids Network for fun crafts and activities
- This Scholastic site offers projects to keep kids reading, thinking, and growing. It also provides resources for parents and teachers.
- Learn geography with National Geographic
- ABCmouse.com offers a depth and breadth of educational content for young learners never before seen in one location, with more than 9,000 individual learning activities and more than 850 lesson plans.
- More K-12 educational games at Breakout EDU
- Check out short videos about numbers that help kids explore complex math topics and make math more fun
- This website provides a list of children’s book authors that have opted to share videos centered on their work that are completely free of charge while kids are home
- Here is a site with loads of science experiments you can do at home
- Audible is allowing kids to instantly stream an incredible collection of stories, including titles across six different languages, that will help them continue dreaming, learning, and just being kids. All stories are free to stream on your desktop, laptop, phone or tablet.
- This website has a variety of printables, worksheets, and activities for all different educational topics and grades
- For distance/home learning packets, resources, and strategies for special education, this website is the place to check out.
- And find tons more great resources, activities, how-tos and more at MyKidsTime
Activities for Adults to Stay Productive
Maybe you are home with the kids or have transitioned to working from home for a bit. Here are some ideas to keep you focused and productive!
- Plan a family calendar of activities
- Organize a clean, quiet place for you to work, put in some earbuds and jam out, and turn off social media notifications
- Create a meal plan for the next few weeks to alleviate stress around meals
- Don’t ditch your fitness routine! It’s simple to create an in-home workout using videos, body-weight exercises, and yoga
- Keep up your supplements and vitamins (for the whole family)
- Take long, hot, Epsom salt baths or steam showers
- Make a to-do list every day and review your progress every night. Stay on task!
- Spend time outdoors every day, even if it’s just while you drink tea or coffee and write your to-do list
- Don’t forget to breathe and stretch! Practice alternate nostril breathing to reduce anxiety.
- Reach out if you need help! It’s okay to ask for assistance, especially if you are managing a household.
- Carve out time for intentional moments of reconnection with your partner, kids, and family.
- Finish some of those projects you’ve been putting off
- Yoga, our favorite is: https://www.downdogapp.com/ and they made it free for a limited time.
As always, I recommend remembering to maintain Whole Life Balance even when times are challenging. While your lifestyle may have to change for a bit, or you have to take extra precautions to avoid illness, you can still create meaningful daily routines that will alleviate stress, boost your immunity, restore a sense of order and peace, and leave time for fun.
Life goes on despite daily life interruptions. Sure, the implications will be far greater for some, including those parents who work full time and may not have the option to work from home or take time off. Let’s get creative about how we can help our village to thrive during these uncertain times.
I’m certain there are hundreds of lessons learned that will come from this situation. I ask that we be open to those lessons, to learning how we can continue to grow as kind and conscious humans.
In the meantime, stay healthy, stay positive, and get creative with how to ENJOY life even in the face of uncertainty and change.