We’ve got the lowdown on how to say sane when stuck at home with your baby during lockdown. Plus some top tips to keep the little ones happy, too.
With all the baby and toddler classes cancelled, coffee shops closed, playdates off the agenda and even the parks being shut, many mums with little ones are dreading the prospect of lockdown. So what can you can do to stay sane when cooped up all day at home with your baby or toddler?
Angela Spencer, natural parenting expert and author of Babyopathy: Relaxed Mum, Contented Baby! has plenty of useful tips, but first and foremost, she believes it’s happy mum, happy baby, it’s all about finding ways to keep both of you content.
Stick to a routine at home with baby
As a start, Angela recommends keeping baby’s routine as normal, or life will only get trickier with a cranky baby thrown in the mix. “It’s a great time to actually get older children involved and learning through everyday tasks and activities,” Angela says. “They can help mum with baby – changing nappies, during bath and bed time, these all become new life lessons.” You’ll find you’ll turn even the most every day tasks into new learning opportunities.
Stay connected, stay sane at home with baby
Next up it’s so important to stay connected. As Angela says, “we are so lucky in this day and age because without the invention of the smartphone we would be facing a whole new level of isolation!”
“Make time to see your friends virtually. Whether it’s Skype or WhatsApp, Zoom or even House Party (online apps where you can bring together larger groups of people) make sure you speak to and “see” each other regularly,” she explains. “It’s the feeling of being disconnected and shut away that sparks the fears of isolation.”
“It is so important to make sure you really listen to the concerns of your friends and family,” she says, “and don’t be afraid to talk and share if you’re feeling worried or low too – we all need to accept help sometimes.”
Schedule in some relaxation time
Another lovely thing to do is to create a relaxation routine that suits you – when baby is napping, or has gone down for the night, take time to meditate, listen to music, have a hot bath or simply put your feet up – whatever it takes, de-stress.
“I think in all of this, the important thing to remember is that we are being given the opportunity to reconnect with our children on a completely new level,” Angela explains. “So find simple activities the whole family will enjoy – from rolling a ball to digging in the dirt, it’s the simple things we will learn to appreciate again.”
Learn something new
And last of all, this is a great opportunity to learn something new. You may feel like your going a little stir crazy at home with baby, but when the little one is asleep or otherwise occupied, schedule in some time for you. “Take an online course or read up on a subject that interests you whilst baby is napping,” Angela says. “We all have that lists of things we would do if we had the time – well now there is time!”
Give yourself a break…
And most of all don’t be too hard on yourself. If standards slip a little, or your toddler has a little more screen time than you would like, don’t fret about it. The most important thing is that everyone stays happy and sane!
Top Tips to Keep Your Little Ones Happy at Home
1. Make some musical instruments – upside down saucepans and wooden spoons for the drums, and little bottles filled with pasta, rice or lentils make brilliant maracas.
2. Plant some seeds together – perfect for even the littlest fingers – and watch your “beanstalks” grow. Cress is always a great place to start.
3. Give your baby a massage – after a relaxing bath, small babies love nothing more than a relaxing massage – and it’s the most precious time for bonding too.
4. Cook with the kids – it’s a great way to help your tot develop their ‘pincer’ grip with handfuls of cheese, raisins, or chopped veg – you can be really creative with your recipes too, different flavoured scones are a great place to start.
5. Have a dance party – babies love music, so get the whole family involved and burn off some of that excess energy.
6. Spend more time reading with your little ones – it’s a lovely cosy way to while away the time, and something we usually struggle to squeeze in.
7. Toddlers love yoga – the happy baby, dog stretch and dolphin are all perfect for little people – try online tutorials on YouTube from Cosmic Kids Yoga and get some exercise yourself whilst you are at it.
8. Create a simple obstacle course for your little one – small steps up, markers to go around and chairs to crawl underneath will keep them happy for hours.
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