Updated: Jan 16
Keeping children indoors for long periods of time can drive parents crazy. After having to self-isolate with my 10-month-old daughter and 2-year-old son while unwell, I struggled to keep them entertained. The key to making your family's isolation period as easy as possible is preparation. I am sharing with you all my top tips for self isolating with a toddler.
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The reality of coronavirus
Coronavirus seems to be a lot milder for children and for most fit and healthy adults it is mild to moderate. However, self isolating with a toddler can be pretty stressful. You will all need plenty of rest so it's helpful to make things as easy as possible for yourself. Accept the fact that the washing is going to pile up and the house is probably going to be a mess for the duration.
Preparations when self isolating with a toddler
Children get bored very easily so by preparing (see also 'How can mums prepare for self-isolation') some new activities for each day before you are made to self-isolate. You will be able to keep them entertained for longer. By taking steps to prepare now before potentially getting ill you will be helping yourself in the long-run if you are self isolating with a toddler. Even reading a story to my children was difficult when I was ill with the coronavirus as I felt very breathless.
Hit the charity shops beforehand
This is a sure-fire way to give yourself some much-needed peace and quiet, at least for a while anyway. Go to your local charity shop and have a look for some cheap new toys. Small things like a toy car or a doll will only cost you a pound or so but will keep your toddler entertained for a long time. But use them wisely, if you give your toddler all of their new little toys straight away they will lose interest far quicker. Only bring out ONE of the treats when you can sense they are becoming agitated.
Self isolating with a toddler? Discover 10 things to keep toddlers entertained.
All of the things listed below require little effort from the parent in order for them to be able to rest and recover as quickly as possible while self isolating with a toddler.
Build a fort:
Building a fort is usually pretty quick and easy to do and it will spark your child's natural imagination and will help them to entertain themselves. Plus the best bit about a fort is you can snuggle down inside with lots of blankets and pillows, perfect for when your feeling poorly.
Give your toddler a piece of paper and a crayon (washable ones are best for avoiding scribbled on walls) and show them how rubbing a crayon on a piece of paper over different surfaces makes different patterns and textures. They can go around the whole house doing this and they will love it.
Nothing gets a child more excited than a big bowl of water. This can be quite messy so make sure you put down plenty of towels. Grab a box and fill it with different things that would be fun to add to the water such as dolls, little boats, spoons, cups, and bubbles.
This is super easy to make you just need flour and oil, mix them together until you have the desired consistency. Gather anything that would be fun to use in the sand such as shells, yogurt pots, and spoons. Again, this can be messy, a wipeable mat would be best.
Bring the slide inside:
If you have a small lightweight baby slide sat in your garden, bring it in! (If you have space to) Your child will find it very exciting that they get to bring a bit of the outdoors inside. (Obviously, give the slide a good clean beforehand) The same goes for tunnels and tents!
Never underestimate the power of stickers, they have kept my son entertained for the whole day many times. You could even get an activity sticker book too!
Your toddler will love looking through photo albums with you and its a lovely way to spend some time together. Tell your child stories relating to photos and point out family members and quiz your child on all their names.
Get out the macaroni pasta shells and string and show your toddler how to create their own necklaces, crowns, and bracelets.
Why not pick out a few items of clothing from your own wardrobe and let your toddler dress up and play with them? They will love pretending to be just like mummy/daddy.
Get some fresh air:
Obviously, you can't go into public but you can go into your garden (if you have one) to let your toddler have a good run around. They will be craving some fresh air after being cooped up at home. Wrap up really warm and pull up a deckchair while your child explores the garden and plays.
I hope these ideas help to keep your toddler entertained during this difficult time. Self isolating with a toddler can be tough but it's a great opportunity to spend lots of quality time with your child. Embrace the temporary change and make the experience into a positive one.