Kim’s tips for managing isolation with kids

Six-year-old Bilbo was diagnosed with leukaemia in October 2018. The family faced a lot of time in isolation, and then had to isolate again due to the coronavirus pandemic. Here, Bilbo's mum Kim shares her tips and some resources for families facing isolation at home.

Find a rhythm with work

Work might not be what you are used to, 9-5 may have to go out the window but you can make it work for example:

  • Rise early and put a few hours in
  • Plan tasks for the kids around your work schedule
  • Do childcare, or work shifts, with your partner
  • Limit screen time so you can use it when you need to
  • Work when the kids are in bed
  • Embrace the madness. Shushing kids doesn’t work in my experience, my boys are curious. They tend to want to come and say hi and then bore very quickly. My boys are very familiar with my work colleagues and this in turn helps them understand a little bit about what mummy does.

Isolation routine

The normal routine won’t exist but it is important to establish a “new normal” as quickly as possible. My boys thrive on routine so here are our tips:

  • School/nursery is broken up into small chunks of time. Small people have limited attention span so you need to do the same.
  • Embrace break times, lunchtime and down time – they get this at school so it should be no different at home
  • Build a timetable so everyone knows the plan
  • You’re not going to be able to follow the same curriculum, so why not try out homeschooling methods that let your children lead the learning?
  • Create a reward chart – this can help you reward creativity, good behaviour (especially when you’re in meetings) and learning milestone.

Bilbo and his family

Isolation resources

  • Stock your craft box: paper, pens, scissors, glue, tape, paints etc.
  • Top up your printer toner
  • Remember rubbish can make great craft materials
  • If you’re still able pick up some phonics, maths workbooks
  • Think of some outdoor activities: planting seeds, mowing the lawn, painting a fence. My kids love chalking on the paving slabs and drawing on the garage wall.

These are some online resources we have used or been recommended:

Embrace the challenge

None of this is ideal but I can tell you from experience kids are resilient and embrace change far better than adults. Make this experience an adventure, a way to learn new things in an interesting and different way.