It has been officially over forty days of being quarantined with our three and a half year old twin boys and I’ve learned A LOT in that time! When we first started out I had an agenda for everyday, then quickly realized the most important thing for them was that they had some structure, but overall were still having fun while learning new things. If you are anything like me, we quickly started to scrape the bottle of the barrel with keeping our little guys entertained. I also observed that they often do not like to play the same activities, therefore encouraging me to put my creative mama thinking cap on. I found that switching up their environment and creating play stations that can be rotated throughout the house extremely helpful. Every couple of days I will set up stations in their rooms, play room, living room and kitchen where they can have free play and choose the activity they would like to do. Changing their environment can magically bring new life to toys or games that otherwise have not seen the light of day for a while. About two weeks into quarantine, I did a deep dive on the Internet and found some great websites that offer tons of helpful tips and activities that even the pickiest child would love.
These are the top four activities that were a success for us:
Playdoh: A classic favorite for multiple age ranges making playhoh can provide sensory touch stimulation, allow kids to work on their counting skills as well as be creative with choices of color combinations. This activity takes about 5 ingredients, and about 5 minutes for prep. There are several recipes, but the one I used did not include cream of tartar and did not require baking!
Painting Nails: This activity requires any type of colored paper and washable paint. You can also use actual nail polish if you want (I did and ended up with a mani from one of my kids J ) I traced my hands several times and drew fingernails on them then had my boys “paint” the nails using colors that they chose. The activity helps with fine motor skills and can also incorporate mindfulness.
Sensory Bins: A favorite for my littles, this requires two bins and anything your kids love around the house. We have used beans and sorting cups, a truck bath and shaving cream with toys hidden inside. The hands down winner sensory bin for us is always using water and giving them multiple cups and pouring utensils to play with.
Scissor Skill Practice: This super easy activity requires construction paper and kid friendly scissors. I printed a face template and then cut out “hair” which I taped onto the head of the face. Let your kids give the face a haircut of their choosing. Another scissor practice activity can be cooking spaghetti, and then allowing your children to cut the spaghetti in a bowl.
These sites are great resources for activities that all ages can enjoy:
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How to talk to your kids about Coronavirus:
- It’s okay to not feel okay. All of this is completely uncharted which brings up a lot for us as parents but also for our kids. There is so much uncertainty, sadness, anxiety and fear that the best thing you can do for your kids is to allow them to know it’s okay to experience these emotions. Our children’s lives have been completely disrupted whether that’s not being in school, not seeing their friend/teachers, or losing a loved one. These are all losses that children need space to process and talk through. Allowing your children permission to not be okay can lead to greater emotional awareness and increased feelings of security.
- Talk to your children using age appropriate terminology and explanations. As advanced as our kids can be, and as much as we can’t shield them from everything it’s important to not overwhelm them with facts and information that they are not able to mentally process or emotionally handle.
- Incorporating mindfulness can be helpful in grounding children from things that they can’t control. Using simple mindfulness techniques such as taking a walk and naming all of the senses you experience or practicing breathing exercises can help by decreasing anxiety while also learning coping skills.
- Discussing the ways that they can helpers during this time can be a useful tool to allow insight into what is happening. Explain how nurses, doctors, supermarket workers are all doing their part, and then discus how they are doing their part to help too. These can be actions such as washing your hands, playing at home, and cooking food for people who are in need. Encouraging your kids to think about ways they can be helpers allows them to also take more control over something they have no control over.
These articles give additional info and tips on discussing Coronavirus with kids:
No parent is perfect, and we are all doing the very best we can! Sending love and light to all during this unprecedented time!
About the author
Amber Lopez Molnar is TLC’s LA Associate and an Associate Marriage and Family Therapist who specializes Infertility, Perinatal and Postpartum Mood Disorders and LGBTQ Issues. She is the proud mom to 2 ½ year old fraternal twin boys, Luke and Everett. When not running around after them, she works part time in a group practice where she works with moms from conception to postpartum. Due to Amber’s experiences and education, she is passionate about helping expecting moms of multiples be prepared on all levels for the arrival of your little ones through the first year. For more information about our Los Angeles classes or to contact Amber, please email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.