Today we’re talking about another week staying home, what we’re struggling with and what’s working for us. This post is sponsored by Ergobaby. All opinions are our own, like always.
How are you hanging in there? As we being week 30928 of social distancing at home, it feels like the norm. Did we ever use to eat at restaurants? Or bring the kids to the store? Or go to the beach?
Some days the norm feels manageable and sometimes it feels a bit overwhelming (and often it changes by the minute). Here are seven things working for us as we stay at home with three kids right now.
7 things making life at home better right now
Daily family walks
We might not be exploring any new European cities or hiking in our favorite Utah mountains, but getting out the door and walking in our neighborhood makes a big difference in our days.
Sometimes it’s a leisurely stroll with Westley in the Ergobaby Omni 360 carrier and the big kids picking flowers, and sometimes I count it as my workout with the big kids in the double stroller and Westley strapped in on my back.
I love that walking with the Ergobaby Omni 360 gives me both hands free and Westley loves that he’s close to Mom but can see the world unfolding. Did you know that carried babies cry less? In a study published in the journal Pediatrics, researchers found that babywearing for three hours a day reduced infant crying by 43 percent overall and 54 percent during evening hours. We count these walks not only as exercise for me, but as a good investment in our evenings.
5 minutes of 1 on 1 time with each child
When I’m spending all day everyday with my kids it is hard for me to grasp how they can feel unseen or disconnected – don’t they know I’ve been with them ALL day? Except when I’m cooking food for them? Or doing their laundry? Or cleaning up their mess?
I’ve found, though, that I can go days without spending time with any of my kids 1 on 1, which is a big relationship booster for us (the 1 on 1 time). In the juggle of naps and quiet time, I’m making it a priority to fit in a few minutes each day 1 on 1 with each child, while leaving my phone in the other room. Sometimes I’ll suggest an activity, sometimes I’ll just sit on the floor and listen to them talk to me while they play. Even three minutes of holding Lincoln on my lap asking him about his latest audiobook makes a difference in his attitude and behavior (and mine, too).
getting children in on tasks like chores + food prep
Another thing I’ve been trying more regularly is getting the kids involved in more of the work that needs to get done around the house. In part, this is because I can double count it as an activity and sometimes it’s all I can come up with, but we’re also working on teaching them what it means to be part of our family. They’re excited about things like baking muffins for breakfast together but even scrubbing the bathroom floors on Saturday can be a great activity together. Sometimes they seem to be grasping the satisfaction of a job well done and at least I think they’re more aware of all that goes on to keep this family running.
It might take longer (who doesn’t have enough time for things these days, though?) but then I spend less of my “alone time” during naps or after bedtime getting those things taken care of.
turning screen time into movement time
Adelaide and I usually do some kind of kids yoga together before breakfast each morning because she’s up long before her brother, but I also like having active screen time as a backup plan when I need a few minutes for something. My kids don’t seem to have the same negative attitude after doing movement screen time as they do after watching a movie or show. Here are a few ideas for turning screen time into active time.
- Kid’s yoga
- Kid’s zumba
- music + movement sing-a-long videos
Especially if Westley is teething and he isn’t content to roll around the floor with us, I’ll strap him into the Ergobaby carrier so I can join in with the morning yoga and then rush off to get a few things done while the big kids are busy.
When we are all struggling, my go-to fix is scooping as many kids up as I can and starting a book (or just starting a book and letting the kids wander over). I love that I don’t have to come up with great ideas or manage heavy emotions. Usually by the end of the afternoon or close to bedtime, I am wearing a little thin, and a book means I don’t need a lot of creativity or patience but we still get a bonded, cuddled, close few minutes together. Plus, I feel like a great mom when I’m reading to my kids and sometimes that boost is enough to get me through the rest of it.
The kids don’t mind it either 🙂
And when reading aloud isn’t going to cut it, we dance it out. Impromptu living room dance parties are always the dopamine boost we need, as long as we can agree on the music.
time out for mom
Better than getting angry? Stepping out for 2 minutes.
120 seconds of deep breathing and silence does wonders. I’m working on modeling how to handle hard emotions for my kids right now. Instead of asking myself “Is this a valid response?” I’m asking, “How do I want them to respond in this situation?” I might feel totally justified in getting mad that Lincoln opened the glitter I expressly told him not to and dumping it all over the kitchen floor. But next week, when Adelaide inevitably knocks over his tower or ruins his painting, how do I want him to respond?
If I can help my toddler learn to regulate his emotions by stepping into the bathroom for two minutes, I’ll do it.
waking up before the kids
Did I tell you Westley has FINALLY started (usually) sleeping through the night? Nine months in and this goal of waking up before my kids is starting to feel manageable. Usually he’s up for a bottle + diaper change around 5/5:30 before going back to sleep for another hour or two and I’m starting to stay up. The silence before the fun + crazy of the family day begins helps me feel calm and centered instead of waking up to a child demanding a bottle, or breakfast, or a million other things.
honorable mention: wearing the teething baby
Our happy + content baby is cutting four top teeth right now and it has been a rough couple of days with nap time sleep (luckily it isn’t affecting nighttime sleep very much). He is less content with being in his jumper, playing on the floor, or doing anything that doesn’t happen in Mom’s arms. It took me 2.5 hours to get him down for a nap on Wednesday. 2.5 hours! I finally quit the crib and put on the Ergobaby. I popped in my headphones + latest audiobook, and paced in the dark basement for 10 minutes and Westley was out!
We’ve been using the Ergobaby carrier for naptime the last couple of days (Westley transfers easily so I wear him for half an hour and then put him down in his bed) and it has been a sanity saver.
A few notes on the Ergobaby Omni 360.
We bought an earlier model of the Ergobaby 360 carrier five years ago when Lincoln was born after reading a million reviews and weighing options. We picked it because of comfort (lumbar support), because both Ben and I could use it in various carry positions, and because it works from newborn to toddler (7-45 pounds) without a separate infant insert required. It came with us to England, Spain, and Portugal, I’ve used it around the house with all three kids when babies are sad or I just need to get things done, and I’ve always loved how easy it is to use so I feel comfortable leaving it for my parents to use when they’re watching my kids. We’ve recommended Ergobaby 360 carriers countless times.
So I loved Ergobaby carriers before they sent me the newest Omni 360 carrier to use for this post, but the newer model is exceeded my expectations! The fabric, the fit, the adjustable options, the storage pouch – I love it. If you’ve got a little one at home, I cannot recommend this enough. If you have any questions, leave them below!
This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Ergobaby.