We have been dreading it, but it’s happening. The quarantine has been extended for another 2 weeks in many states in India. I guess almost everyone around the world will be dealing with some form of a lockdown in the coming months. (Please check your local news).

So what does one do during a lockdown? For starters, best not to panic. Think of it as an event that has a definite end point and life will eventually get back to a new normal.

Then, carry your hand sanitizer, your mask and gloves (if any) and visit your nearest supermarket to stock up on essentials and prepare for any supply uncertainties. Remember to keep a healthy 6 feet distance from the other shoppers. If the store is very crowded, ditch the errand and go another day/time. Wash your hands when you get home.

If you’re immune-compromised, have chronic conditions like hypertension or diabetes or are above 70 yrs of age, please have your groceries delivered. Going out is not worth the risk.

If you’re relatively healthy, please focus on minimizing exposure.

Here’s a handy list when you’re out on your next grocery run:

Guide to: Stocking up

Once a month

  • Dried milk powder which can be reconstituted to make regular (not fat free) milk
  • Dried beans- choose from kidney beans, black eyed peas, black beans, adzuki beans, chick peas etc.
  • Canned food- tomatoes, and maybe some canned fruit, if you so wish.
  • Onions, potatoes and other root vegetables- these stay in a reasonably good condition for a month.  Keep away from heat and humidity.
  • Frozen food- mixed vegetables
  • Sugar, salt, coffee, tea or other beverages
  • Staples- Rice and wheat flour for us Indians.
  • Medication, if you’re on doctor prescribed medication and your life depends on it, this is the time to stock up. For instance, diabetics would need to buy: Insulin, syringes, rubbing alcohol, Blood sugar testing strips (for the machine).
  • Breakfast cereal, if any.
  • First aid kit: Antiseptics like Savlon or Dettol, Band-aids, paracetamol like Dolo, Crocin, Cough Expectorants and suppressants, ORS sachets, ibuprofen syrup and tablets.
  • Cooking oil.

Once a week

  • Milk.Super tip: Milk packets can be frozen indefinitely and thawed within an hour at room temperature.
  • Bread or any other breakfast item.
  • Eggs, if you eat them.
  • Fresh vegetables.

Guide to: Entertaining children at home during a lockdown.

The one thing common has been closure of schools and educational institutions all throughout the globe and what that means is not only are humans stuck at home, some are stuck with children (read little humans) at home, and thus the are faced with problems of managing children for indefinite period of time at home away from schools sans the routine and structure which schools provide. If you are a parent and are stuck with children at home, it can be quite a task to keep them entertained, busy, and engaged. The lack of structure at home can send children into frenzy along with boredom and overuse of screen time. And guess what? Parents give in… they buckle into pressure from children for more screen time which then spirals out of control and you are left wondering how to successfully and fruitfully engage kids with something more meaningful.

With the coronavirus, we really need ideas to keep our sanity as our kids are home. Here are some surefire ways to keep children engaged and stay sane when you are stuck indoors with kids.

  1. Have an indoor scavenger hunt. This can include some learning at the same time.  If your child is a toddler and learning colors, have them find you something in different colors such as red, orange, blue, purple.  If they’re working on their vocabulary, have them find or bring back something hard or soft, big or little. If they’re older, they can perhaps find you objects inside a room of a particular color, shape, texture, etc.  Alternatively, if you’re feeling a little ambitious, maybe you can go out into a garden and go on a nature scavenger hunt.
  2. Water play.  You can take water play to the bathroom. Fill up the tubs and dig out their swimsuits and let them play. Purchase some bath paints and they can draw, practice letters on the bathroom tiles.  Turn off the lights and throw in some glow sticks. Let them play with foam bathtub alphabets.
  3. Writing letters.Encourage children to write letters. Yes, the old school ones, to either their friends or grandparents and mail them.  It helps in improving their letter writing and penmanship.
  4. Take out the board games like Sequence, Monopoly, Battleship and have a family game night. How about 550+ piece jigsaw puzzles sustainably produced in Germany featuring wildlife drawn by British puzzle artist John Francis ?
  5. Bring outdoor toys inside. If you’re stuck indoors and absolutely cannot venture outside, bring the outdoor toys inside like a tricycle in the basement or a playhouse inside the kitchen.
  6. Bake and cookwith the kids. Engage them in cooking activities.  Let them wear aprons and assist you in reading out recipes or be in charge of stirring or pouring. If you’re feeling a bit more experimental, maybe the kids can help bake a batch of biscuits or make muffins and send it over to the neighbors or share them with community helpers.
  7. Let kids cut, glue, draw, and create. Turn their art into birthday cards, make crafts for the next holiday season or decorate the house with their crafts.  From making friendship bracelets to creating pointillism art with ear buds on chart paper, bring on the cute crafts.
  8. Use educational websites to full advantage.  If you have older kids, encourage them to practice typing skills online.  
  9. Challenge kids with some reading. Set up a cozy corner indoors and encourage kids to read while in that space.
  10. With schools closed, sports cancelled and people quarantined,the next best thing your children can do is keep a journal over the next few weeks. This is especially for older children where they keep a record handwritten, in photographs, or drawings recording events, day-to-day activities and feelings. They can also keep video journals. When it’s all over store it in a safe place for them, sort of like a time capsule. They can share it one day with their children and grandchildren. Help them create a tangible and primary source of their own history.

Look at this list of free resources for learning and entertainment:

If you have kids at home who are special needs kids, managing them gets even trickier at times. Check out: ADDitude Magazines new Covid-19 library filled with resources for kids with ADD/ADHD. 

You might be interested in: #GharbaithoIndia- 8 ways to survive the 21 day lockdown without losing sanity.

For the next few weeks, Mindful Schoolswill be offering free mindfulness classes for kids. Join online for mindful activities, mindful movement and read-alouds. Here’s the signup link:

Renee Jain from GoZen and Dr. Shefali Tsabary has teamed up to provide free teachings from their upcoming book Superpowered. You can get these free teachings on their Facebook group Superpowered:  Transform Anxiety into Resilience

Audiblehas announced a free to listen collection of audiobooks as long as schools are closed.

Guide to: Avoiding parenting burnout.

Now let’s move on to parents… what are you doing as a parent to take care of yourself during the pandemic in order to manage kids better and save your sanity. Yes, and I mean self care… what does your self care regime look like? Do you at all have a self-care regime? It’s vital to look after yourself during these hard times, so that you can show up for others without undergoing a burnout.

  1. Spend 15 to 30 minutes in meditation everyday.
  2. Read books.  Any books you can lay your hands on-fiction/non-fiction.
  3. Listen to relaxing music for 30 minutes everyday.
  4. Practice yoga/pranayam/mindfulness to ease the anxiety and stress.
  5. Get 8 hours of sleep daily.
  6. Eat proper healthy food and stay well-hydrated.
  7. Chant positive affirmations. Coronavirus has all of us freaked out and at a state of high alert at this time, so it’s essential to chant affirmations to stave off the fear and stress levels.
  8. Indulge in some deep breathing exercises.  On the in breath, visualize calmness and positivity and on the out breath, breathe out all the stress and anxiety.  Visualize all the panic leaving you.

Links to great Youtube content for parents (and even kids)

Here is an Empath Meditation session for clearing, cleansing your energy and grounding.

I absolutely love Abby Wynne’s talks and meditationsand some of them have helped me regain my sense of self and composure.  

You can also visit her at www.abby-wynne.comif you are interested in more energy healing meditations by her and search her up by name on Spotify or Soundcloud apps. 

I love this quote by Viktor Frankl that goes like this,

‘Everything in life can be taken away from you, except for your freedom to choose how you respond”. 

Well, how are you going to respond? For me, the first and immediate reaction to the pandemic was fear and anxiety like many people.  But now, I force myself to take a step back and respond in a better way because fear and panic will absolutely not help me. I don’t know if there’s truly a solution truly to this pandemic.  But I gather that the problem also lies in fear and panic that’s taking control, and that’s not the answer or a solution. We have to protect our energy in these hard times.

I hope this big list of ideas and links is helpful to you.  Stay safe and healthy and we will get through these crazy times, one day at a time.