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Kids are requesting more snacks, entertainment and attention than ever before. But you can get through this without completely sacrificing your sanity.

Read our top tips for managing boredom, family conflicts and round-the-clock responsibilities at home.

10 tips
for surviving
at-home time

Divide up the house for
different functions.

Nobody likes feeling constantly on top of each other. Define clear zones in your house for certain activities, to limit chaos.

  1. Adult only zones
  2. Child play zones
  3. Noisy rough and tumble areas
  4. Quiet activities only

Put a map of this on the fridge for everyone to see.

Plan out both rewards
and discipline.

Work out what child behaviors you want to see more of and what behaviors you want to see less of. Plan responses for both.

Positive behaviors like following instructions and playing nicely should be rewarded with praise, cuddles, affection, prizes and one on one time.

Problem behaviors like fighting, aggression and refusing to follow instructions should be met with calm, clear consequences. Use consequences like losing a privilege or time out.

Rule to remember: give more attention to positive behaviors over negative. Make sure rewards are fun, unpredictable and emotional; while discipline should be predictable, boring and non-emotional

Brainstorm and schedule
activities for the week.

Plan out the morning, afternoon, and evening of each day, one week in advance.

Choose a mixture of creative, learning and silly activities, mixed with regular chores. Try to make it all as much fun as you can.

Again, put the activity schedule on the fridge to keep your kids and yourself busy.

Hold a family meeting.

Involve the entire household, listen to your kid's opinions, and keep it fun. The more kids feel like they're part of the process, the better. Make decisions as a family team and shake on it (or bump elbows) at the end of the meeting.

Schedule in special time
for each child individually.

Start with 30 minutes here and there to check in with your child and make them feel cared for.

Schedule in some parent-only time.

Nurturing your adult relationships and connections has to be a priority too.

Don't try to be referee.

Trying to find out who started what, and who did what to whom, is only sometimes useful. It can actually reinforce the fighting.

Instead, treat children as a team, refuse to get involved in pointing fingers and reward them as a group for playing nicely. Apply consequences to them as a group, if they are fighting and not playing well together.

Use the Premack principle.

Basically, encourage your child to do a less fun task, in order to gain access to a more fun task. In real life, this could mean having your child do chores or homework before getting their hands on mobile devices.

Do an online parenting course:
they work!

If children are constantly fighting, arguing, throwing tantrums and the works - do an online course (like Family Man) that teaches specialized skills in managing problem child behavior.

Re-discover the love.

Finally, try to make this fun and re-discover the love. Think back to the positive reasons you wanted children and a family. Forgive minor irritations and open up to spending more time together. Bring back the laughter and joy in the little things that happen each day and the fact you are all together.

Talking to kids

If your child is uneasy, anxious or confused about what’s in the news, you’re not alone. Talking to your child calmly, simply and honestly will help them adjust.

Sudden changes to kids’ routines can make them upset or anxious, so gently explain how their day-to-day might be different over time. For older kids, it’s likely they’re getting information from friends and the media, so talk to them about whatever they’re hearing. Consider how much screen time they have daily, and if it’s helping or hurting.

Let your kids know it’s OK to ask questions, and that they can come to you whenever they need.

Watching out
for our kids'

Fever, dry cough, and a runny nose are all symptoms of COVID-19. If you, your child or someone in your household are showing these signs, call your doctor to let them know. Most kids are able to recover with rest and fluids. But if they have trouble breathing, call your doctor or emergency services right away.

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