Despite the media’s best efforts to ensure otherwise, I’m determined to remain positive in the face of what will be one of the greatest challenges to our generation’s economy and mental health. To be honest, I’m not which is the greater threat as the inevitability of lockdown looms. So, with that in mind, I’m focusing on getting ready. Today I’m going to share my practical tips to prepare for self isolation and lockdown.
It’s coming, so we may as well make the best of it, like these people are:
Mentally Preparing for Lockdown
Firstly, I’m going to reiterate what I said in my previous post: our attitude to this challenge is everything. We can choose to feel imprisoned, or we can make the positive choice to feel protected.
It’s worth keeping in mind that to a very large extent our children will be influenced by the way we respond to situations. If we want to keep them calm and happy, then we must model serenity.
I won’t pretend it’s going to be easy – it’s not – and that’s why preparing mentally and practically is our best defence.
Practical Tips to Prepare for Self Isolation, Prior to Lockdown
These are practical tasks that will help ensure you are ready to be isolated for a period of time should access to shops and other amenities become difficult.
Identify Vulnerable Family, Friends, and Neighbours
Make a list of the people you know who are likely to require assistance, and think about how you may be able to assist them. It might be scheduling a daily or weekly call, helping them to set up a Skype account, or offering to deliver their shopping if that’s still an option available to us during lockdown.
Go to the Library
Stock up on books for all the family while it’s still open.
Book Shopping Delivery Slots
Consumers have lost the plot. Supermarkets have gone crazy; it’s a free for all and feels much like the week before Christmas, except worse – despite being entirely unnecessary and despite pleas for common sense and order which are falling on deaf ears.
Whilst I absolutely do not advocate continuing that madness, I do feel it’s worth being organised.
If everybody is at home and relying on home deliveries for their weekly shops, we need to be prepared. Delivery slots are going to be even more in demand than over the festive period, so it’s a good idea to book in what you can ahead of time.
Bear in mind that all supermarkets are advertising the message that stock will not be an issue if people continue to shop normally. Purchase only what you need – and be aware that limits will be imposed on anybody attempting to bulk buy essentials.
Prepare and freeze meals so that you have one less thing to worry about during social isolation.
Make and Attend Necessary Appointments
This may be medical niggles you’ve been ignoring, haircuts, or even getting your nails done. Even frivolous plans should be fulfilled while you still can, because you’re going to miss them.
And you’ll be helping a tiny bit towards stopping that business from going under.
Obtain Any Necessary Medication
If you have any medication you rely on semi-regularly, be sure to check you have some in the cupboard and that it’s in date. While it’s highly unlikely that you’ll be unable to obtain urgent supplies, it’s nonetheless a good idea to be prepared.
This does not mean stockpiling items you never need, but – as a working example – in our case it does mean checking we have enough steroids in the cupboard to treat our daughter at home should she get croup, and that my husband has sufficient meds to treat his asthma.
Fill Up the Car
Just in case you should have an emergency, it’s worth ensuring you have fuel in the car.
Cut the Grass and Tidy the Garden
Nicer weather is upon us. For those of us fortunate enough to have a garden, it’s wise to have it ready and in tip top condition for making the most of that outside space.
If the time comes when we’re unable to head out to the park or even for a walk, we’ll relish the opportunity to be outdoors and won’t want to be worrying about long grass or anything hazardous being cleared before the children can play.
Do the Same For Elderly Loved Ones
If you have elderly family or neighbours with gardens and you’re in a position to do so, cutting their grass is a practical kindness you can do for them while it’s still an option.
Buy Summer Clothing
It may sound trivial but this is not about fashion. The weather has been hideous but is just beginning to turn. If you have children who’ve grown over the past six months you may find that you’ve no summer clothes that fit them!
Yes, it’s still possible to order items to be delivered, but life will be much easier if you have some basics already to hand.
Sun Cream / Sunglasses / Hats / Sun Shelter
Ditto hot sunny weather paraphernalia. After all, there would be nothing worse than a beautiful sunny day during which you’re unable to get outside.
Paddling Pool and Garden Games
Also check your pool has not developed a hole and that your garden games are in good working order!
Stock Up on Paper and Pens
Again, you’ll be able to order these items, but it would be great to have plenty available at home, especially if everybody gets the same idea and stocks run low!
Purchase Gardening Supplies
If you have a garden, stock up on pots, soil, tools, and seeds.
Practical Tips and Ideas for During Lockdown
There are lots more practical ways to prepare for isolation, but many can actually be done with the kids. Involving them in some of the preparation can be an activity in itself to occupy them, which is exactly what’s required during this stretch of time.
Besides which, anything they feel they’ve contributed to is more likely to be embraced by them! Well, that’s the theory, anyway.
Collate Educational Resources
For those of us with school age children, keeping them stimulated and preventing boredom is going to be a challenge. Ensuring they also continue to learn is going to be tough too, especially for those of us who are less crafty.
You could choose together which specific activities look fun, and create a schedule for various subjects.
This is also where bloggers can help you: there are so many free resources available, and many bloggers and businesses are temporarily making their products available at no cost too. Here’s a list of some I’m aware of:
- KiddyCharts Free Printables
- LEGO Challenges
- Free Reading & Spelling Trial
- Downloadable Maths Workbooks
- List of Education Companies Offering Free Subscriptions
Make a Busy Box
Have your child help come up with ideas of fun things to keep them occupied when they’re feeling overwhelmed or fed up with cabin fever. If they have a hand in putting it together, hopefully that will be enough to inspire them during those difficult times.
You could find ideas online of fun crafts to make where the fun is not only in the making, but that actually provide something to use or do afterwards too.
Depending on your child’s age they could be simple like a paper plane, or more complex such as a collection of homemade wordseaches or crosswords (get them to swap with their siblings to solve the puzzles)!
Plant Flowers and Vegetables
If we’re stuck at home for long enough, there will be time to plant at the beginning, and see our hard work bloom before we make our way back into the world.
Not only is this a really powerful metaphor for our children too, it’s also a great money saving idea for the family to be involved in together.
Create Care Packs for the Elderly
Why not encourage your child to help you put together some items for relatives or neighbours? You could include notes and pictures, home baked goodies, flowers picked from your garden, books or magazines if you’re able to get hold of them. You could also include some of the homegrown items from the above point for a personal touch!
Write a Gratitude List
Now more than ever, taking care of our mental health is critical. It may not feel like it, but there is still plenty for us to be appreciative of, and keeping a gratitude list to help us remember that could be hugely beneficial to our children as well as for adults.
My First Happy Journal
Practice Yoga (or Other Exercise)
YouTube is an incredible resource for helping us workout at home. My personal favourites are Boho Beautiful for adult yoga, and Cosmic Kids for doing some with the kids.
Find a PenPal
Do you have elderly family who don’t I’ve close by but are feeling isolated? If it’s still possible to get out and post letters, why not brighten their days with little handwritten notes and pictures? It will also be a wonderful way to keep your child reading and writing.
If you don’t personally know any elderly who would value a personal letter, you could write to friends or family, or reach out to a care home as many are no longer receiving visitors.
Staying Positive During Lockdown
As I keep saying, the most important thing right now is to retain positivity. It’s going to be vital for our mental health and for our children’s too. We have the power to choose to see the good in being at home with our families: a unique opportunity to reconnect and grow closer together, and to teach our kids some valuable lessons, both practical (cooking, sewing, gardening, maintaining our vehicles), and more profound ones too, such as the lengths we will go to as a community to ensure our country is not beaten by a virus.
To this end, I’m making a page from my kids journal downloadable for free, so that you can use this template with them every day if you wish. I’m also planning to create a daily prompt for the next month or so to encourage everyone to get involved.