I thought I’d had it covered: running a fast-growth company with over 300 employees and being a mum. Then the pandemic hit; and a few months in, I had (almost) everything under control again.
Then a teacher at my daughter’s preschool tested positive for the virus; and while we were allowed to do home quarantine—as some had to stay at official quarantine facilities—keeping a 5-year-old stuck in one room for two weeks was NOT a piece of cake. (It was more like spicy noodles burning hotter in your mouth with every bite!)
So as Singapore moves towards home isolation for COVID-19 cases, I thought to share these tips, which made limiting our daughter to playing, sleeping, and eating in the master bedroom for fourteen days, manageable.
Have A Strict Schedule
Kids thrive on rules and systems. We packed our schedule from the moment she woke up till she fell asleep.
This is how my daughter’s day looked like:
Use The TV As A Learning Tool
Moving the huge TV from the living room into the master bedroom, we allowed her to watch for two hours daily.
To make TV time more intentional, we subscribed to Netflix; and she was only allowed to watch cartoons in Mandarin audio. (Netflix allows you to toggle many shows to have either an English or Mandarin soundtrack.)
Dance It Off
We got the Nintendo Switch Just Dance® game, which allowed us to sweat it out and have fun at the same time.
If you don’t have a game console, you can go old school and still have fun dancing and being silly in the room.
You can even make an activity out of building playlists together.
Variety Is Key
We purchased 15 different assessment books for her to work on an hour each day.
Box book sets like Captain Underpants and the Dog Man series are hilarious books that are bound to bring out loads of chuckles from your kid (and mum & dad too).
We had an arrangement that she would read me one National Geographic Kids Phonics level 1 book and I would read her a Captain Underpants in exchange daily.
Daily Bubble Baths
Skip basic hygiene since you’re stuck in the room for the next 14 days and aren’t really meeting anyone or going out? It’s a thought. (Hah!) But we kept up with our 2 daily showers and swapped the second one out for the bubbly kind. We went crazy with the bath bombs and bubble bath soaps!
No bathtub? No problem. Portable ones that you can buy at Lazada or Shopee for under $100 may just be worth the buy for this occasion.
Daily Online Classes
Mondays to Saturdays we signed up for three online outschool classes. One each for the arts, phonics, and math/science.
Some of our favourites included Disney princess sing-alongs and abacus classes.
Over the weekend we signed up for church and Vedantic Hinduism classes, attended via Zoom.
Zoom Play Dates
She had one every Saturday with her friends in the Philippines and she really looked forward to them. It was a way for her to “escape" the confines of our space.
Have Fun With Meal Time
We tried to mix it up and had a different breakfast, lunch and dinner daily. We had everything from your traditional scrambled eggs, fish porridge to Huevos Rancheros and refried beans for breakfast.
Get Innovative With Toys
We stocked the room with plenty of toys (tucked away in cute storage that could double up as seats).
To make sure she did not get too bored with her toys, we ensured that she could only play with one type of toy daily.
If Monday was for Barbies, then Tuesday would be for Lego, Wednesday for Play-doh, Thursday for Soft Toys etc.
Arts And Crafts Galore
We painted, we coloured, we drew. And painted and coloured and drew some more.
We even built our own Barbie house using cardboard boxes and scraps we found around the room.
More than boredom, we were battling the constant worry that she would come down with COVID-19 symptoms. Our jam-packed home quarantine schedule was as much of a distraction for us as it was for her.
For more tips and vital information for mums as we all stumble into the next unknown of this pandemic, do visit theAsianparent.com. Hang in there, mums and dads.
When it gets extra hard (as it was for me these past weeks), know that our community is here for you.
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