Last April, the government of Singapore declared a partial lockdown to contain the spread of Covid-19. All non-essential workplaces were given a few days to prepare for a temporary closure, starting on April 7. That lockdown extended for 2 months. I had to work from home. My toddler stopped going to childcare. No one was allowed to go anywhere, except if you’re an essential worker or when you needed to go to the doctor or buy groceries. We can’t even visit my in-laws. We didn’t have a garden, not even a balcony to go out. Initially I thought I was going to lose my mind but thank god for these 3 things. Not to be overly dramatic but if you feel like you’re going crazy staying at home with your little ones, these 3 things might help you.
Set a routine – scroll down to see ours.
I knew what it was like to stay at home and feel like you don’t know what day it is anymore. I experienced that with my baby then, when I had postpartum depression.
You’re basically reliving the same day over and over again, like that Groundhog Day movie. Except my newborn has turned into a hyperactive toddler who seems to have this urge to turn the house upside down and inside out.
I knew I had to get out of that mentally or else, my toddler would feel my anxiety and stress. Kids can quickly pick up negative energies from their parents and staying inside for god knows how long then, was already detrimental to my child’s development.
Plus I want my toddler to adapt to the new normal, as we really didn’t have any choice nor idea then how long the lockdown will last.
So what I did was, I replicated her school schedule at home and added activities to give me a little bit of breather. You can check it out below.
It’s not fancy and pretty but I think it did its job well. (Check out other samples of schedules from real moms here) Plus, it was easy to make. I did my best to show and teach her several things from it, like the days, time, letters, words, etc.
The Chinese lesson was basically her watching the Rock and Learn Youtube channel where they teach basic chinese words. The Outdoor/ Exercise, Activity Time and Play Time included activities her dear teachers prepared for her class. I also added some indoor physical activities that I googled so as to mix things up.
As much as possible, I try to stick to this but I have allotted some wiggle time on other schedules. Like naptime for example.
I don’t know how her teachers do it in school but it takes her an hour to take a nap at home. I didn’t really fight it and I just rolled with it. We were in survival mode and I didn’t want to add extra stress on the both of us by strictly sticking to my idea of a daily schedule for my toddler.
I try to limit the TV time but when it’s literally impossible for me to do the chores or cook without her clinging to me, then I turn on the TV. But only as a last resort.
Of course there were moments where I badly needed some more time to do some work so I just gave us both that breather by turning the TV on. I had to cut us some slack, for our sanity’s sake.
Get an egg timer
The 2nd thing that helped me was this egg timer. If I remember correctly, I think I saw it on Emma’s Instagram (a must to follow for any IG moms out there, she literally has, for me, the best play area ever!!!! It’s like my dream play area for my little one). She was using it so her children would know when to bother her again or something, I don’t know but it seems like a very clever idea to get my little one to just wait for me for 30 minutes to do some chores, work or do some quick cooking.
I basically just put it down to where my kid can easily see it but where she can’t reach it and told her, if all the blue sand goes down then that means that we can play or she can do this, etc.
And that’s it. She’d sometimes still ask me to play with her even when I already started the timer and I’m already cooking or doing some chores but most of the time, she just left me alone.
Count your blessings
It was only 2 months for us here but staying at home with my toddler while trying to work during TV time, naptime and at night and doing all the chores and cooking was really tough. But I tell you this in all honesty, no bullshit or whatever, I have never been more grateful in my life.
I have never been more anxious, frustrated, extremely tired but at the same time, immensely thankful that everyone I love were and are, still okay and still alright. We are all well, safe and healthy, up until now.
It was only until this lockdown happened that I realized how truly lucky I am.
I have my family with me, my families and relatives abroad are still okay, we are all healthy, we have food, shelter, money, all the necessities that other people in other countries don’t even have.
Those 2 months of lockdown made me also realize, ironically, how fast time seems to be passing.
The newborn to toddler stage seemed to whizz by so quickly, one minute I was carrying my baby like a football and the next minute, she will tell me that didn’t want to be carried around anymore.
Those 2 months of staying at home made me value my time more with my kid.
It made me actually decide to finally do this blog, in the hopes of having more quality time with her in the future when I have full control of my own time, running a successful blog.
Detrimental effects of staying home all the time
I know the 2 months of staying home did a little number on my kid. When they announced that schools can open soon and that we’re allowed to visit family, I had to get her used to the idea of going out again.
It was tough.
She would be crying, begging to stay at home, not wanting to go out.
So I used hacks to convince her to, at least initially, go out the corridor. Then out the stairs and finally, walking out in the park.
I know a lack of sunlight can cause a lot of problems so I really tried to sneak in some outdoor time with her by at least, going to the corridor or the stairs, even before they announced the easing of lockdown measures.
It was a good thing that my kid’s bedroom had adequate sunlight pouring in but I still wanted her to go out, even for a little bit.
If you’re reading this and the lockdown or quarantine or circuit breaker or whatever the officials want to call it, is still taking effect in your place and you feel like you’re losing it almost everyday, I see you, I hear you and I feel you.
I cannot imagine the effects it might be having on you, your spouse, your children and your whole family. It can really take a serious toll on anyone.
I hope we can finally have that vaccine for everyone in the world. Soon. Very soon.
And I hope and pray that you hold on to whatever strength you have, no matter how little it can be – mentally, emotionally and physically, to be able to survive, day by day.
Let me know how you’re feeling by commenting below.