Managing Three Kids During COVID-19
Since COVID-19 hit, there have been more days of all three boys versus mama. My husband is still able to work as a business owner himself since most of the work is done online or remotely anyway. Right after the news about the corona virus hitting hard, we decided it would be a good idea to keep Sam and Oscar home from preschool for the first week or so. They have also been home at the slightest sign of any cold symptoms and then came Easter break.
Anyway, to the point, how to manage three boys (all under the age of 3.5 years old) by myself:
1. The first thing I did was order some extra arts and crafts to keep us all busy. I highly recommend water beads and the growing animals, for the boys I chose dinosaurs! Such a hit! It's also a really great test of patience for such young kids. They have to wait 6-8 hours for the water beads and animals to grow. I also bought a few dinosaur eggs that you have to let sit first 24-48 hours for the egg to crack and then another 6-8 hours for the dinosaur to grow to it's full size! I found these items for a fair price on gemmas.se!
2. I usually find myself in situations where I wonder how I would survive a 3.5 year old, a soon to be 2 year old, and a newborn without my sling. It is the only way I keep my sanity! Imagine this: the 3.5 year old decides its time to go to the bathroom- fair enough, he's capable of doing that alone. But then, the 2 year old, who is potty training, also decides it's time to go to the potty. So now we have 2 kids in the bathroom, who I thought were only going to pee, going poop together. And they can't wipe themselves. And now Elias is upset, sometimes he gets himself so worked up that he is silently crying so hard and turning read. So! In the ring sling Elias goes, one kid gets wiped, other kid gets wiped, we all wash our hands and we have survived. It maybe seems not as critical when I'm writing it now, but in the moment it's a sweaty situation!
3. I keep Kleen Kanteen water bottles filled and placed in the family room and in the kitchen where they can reach if they get thirsty. The worst thing is when I just sit down to go to the bathroom or nurse and someone is whining that they are so thirsty, like dying of thirst. So this way I can direct them to their water bottles and continue whatever I'm doing. Crisis averted.
4. No expectations. I try not to visualize how the day is going to go, or even a quick walk to the park or store or where ever. If I do visualize it, I try to imagine the worst experience possible- maybe that's Elias crying, so hungry, that I have to stop somewhere and nurse and/or Sam and Oscar fighting or crying about completely separate things.
5. I also NEVER leave the house without some snacks. Even if we're just running down to the store (mind you we normally walk so it takes about 15-20 minutes to get downtown) I have a banana or two, pretzels are the perfect snack to eat in the stroller, or dried fruit rolls. I never know what situation may arise or sometimes we run in to friends, the kids start playing, and then by the time we are headed home again, they are starving.
6. I am also constantly working on my patience. I feel I am a very patient person anyway, but kids really know how to push our buttons and sometimes the fighting between Sam and Oscar can feel like the worst kind of torture. But, getting angry doesn't help anyone. Waiting it out, trying to keep my cool, and talking calmly or trying to rationalize (even if I have to repeat what I'm saying over and over until they have calmed down enough to hear it) seems to be the only thing that works. I don't feel good when I get angry and have to shout and it usually just makes the situation that much worse. All this much easier said than done.
Maybe some of these feel like very obvious tips, but maybe they will help someone. I am very thankful for Sam and Oscar being able to go to preschool 15 hours a week. Like all the memes going around, "And then no one ever asked what a stay at home mom did ever again!"