Just a few weeks ago, we were running from school to practice to dinner to homework.  Parents are often stretched to the limit by jam packed schedules.  You and I have wished that life would slow down.  All of a sudden that wish has come true in a very dramatic way.  Coronavirus.  FULL STOP.
Here where I live in California, we are under lockdown.
As long as we are forced to slow down and stay home, why not use this time to catch up and reflect on your parenting?  
Here are a few ways to stay sane and even happy and productive:
Introduce a “mommy/daddy takes an hour off” in your home.  This exciting event can happen whether you have toddlers or teenagers.  During this hour, you can do nothing for your children except provide basic supervision and intervene in an emergency.  You are not able to play, talk, answer non-essential questions, or serve snacks.  This is your hour to do what you want without interruption.  Your kids may adapt to this so well that you may want to practice this hour several times a week.
Letter writing around the table.  Imagine what a bright spot it would be to receive a personal note in the mail while being holed up at home.  Gather your family around the table with pens and paper or cards.  Letters can be written to grandma, teachers, nurses, cousins, classmates, and longtime friends.  Thinking of others will help you and your family feel more fulfilled and happy.
Get your kids cooking.  In the normal school schedule, it can be unreasonable to think your child has enough time to plan and prepare a family meal.  Knowing how to cook a meal is a skill that will serve your child very well in the future.  Now that you have time, your kids can look through recipes and choose something they feel they can do.  Have each child who is an appropriate age sign up for one meal a week.  My kids are 10, 13, and 15 and it can be done as you offer assistance.
Exercise at home.  Maybe you can’t go to the gym for your regular workout.  There are endless workout routines on YouTube.  Find an instructor you like, subscribe to their channel, and start working out at home.  I really like Heather Robertson.  Invite your kids to join you.  Noelle and I did (half) a workout this morning.  Sorry, we are not hard core.  When we exercise, we feel happier and we boost our immunity to sickness.
Reading time.  It may sound old fashioned to sit on the couches together as a family with instrumental music in the background, as everyone is reading a good book.  But it truly can happen in the 21st century and be deeply satisfying and relaxing.  Turn your home into a library and enjoy the adventures that await between the pages of a book.
Tackle that project.  There’s probably something, maybe several things, you have been wanting to do but you simply haven’t had the time.  Now is the time to organize those photos, clean out that closet, sew that costume, learn that dance move, create a family movie, or rearrange your furniture.  Get your kids involved in projects too.  Ethan is set on repairing his 3D printer.  Noelle wants to learn how to make a light saber while Lucy is improving her chess skills.  Yes, here she is playing…herself!
Arlene Pellicane

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