The current global pandemic is causing major changes around the world. One result is that several of us are trying to figure out How to Prep for a Quarantine.
I’m not an epidemiologist so I’m going to avoid anything that could be construed as medical advice or scientific knowledge. I’ll leave that to the experts (see the CDC’s guidance on this topic).
Instead, I’m approaching this as a mom, who is faced with school closings, toilet paper and hand soap shortages, and out-of-state family members.
My goal is to provide you with resources that will help make the next few weeks less stressful for you. I hope you find some solace in the information below.
Where to Find Supplies
Retailers are selling out of toilet paper, hand soap, hand sanitizer, and disinfecting wipes in record time. I’ve had luck finding some of these items on Amazon.
And with Amazon Prime, they’re delivered to my home in just two days (same-day delivery in some areas!). If you don’t already have it, you can get a free 30-day trial.
In my local area, Aldi has been one of the few stores where you can still find toilet paper. Also, several stores have implemented purchase limits to prevent hoarding so if you found empty shelves earlier in the week, you may have better luck now.
Save yourself some of the aggravation of going all the way to the store only to find empty shelves AND avoid contact with others by placing your order online. Walmart, Target, Sam’s Club and Costco all offer this option.
If you’re still having trouble, search commercial providers. One-ply is better than nothing!
Finally, in a pinch, think beyond toilet paper to other items that can serve the same purpose like tissues and napkins.
With a nationwide shortage of hand sanitizer, hand soap, and disinfecting wipes, keep viruses and germs at bay with these homemade versions.
- DIY Hand Sanitizing Wipes
- DIY Hand Sanitizer (No Alcohol)
- DIY Hand Sanitizer (With Alcohol)
- DIY Flushable Wet Wipes
- DIY All Purpose Cleaning Wipes
Schools across the country are shifting to online courses. Many employers are doing the same and encouraging employees to work-from home.
It can be kind of hard to get work done at home when the kids are there too, asking to be entertained. Here are some ideas to keep them busy while you get some work done.
Activities and Games
- Indoor Games (links to ALL of my posts with different indoor games for kids of all ages)
- Keep Your Kids Entertained at Home (so many clever ideas!)
- 100+ Screen-Free Activities for Kids
- 50+ Fun Indoor Activities for Kids
- 20 Rainy Day Activities for Preschoolers
- I’m Bored Jar for Kids (I love this idea for any time of year!)
- Treasure Hunt Clues for Kids (get them up and off the couch!)
- The 15 Best Trampoline Games (being stuck at home doesn’t mean you’re confined to staying indoors!)
Games You Can Make
- Make Your Own Forehead Game
- Printable Bingo Cards
- Printable Tetris Board Game
- Printable Nerf Targets
- Printable Tangram Objects
- Printable Tangram People
Unlimited Books, Movies and Music
If you were already well-stocked on toilet paper and skipped over the first section of this post, you missed the news about Amazon Prime. If you’ve only been using it for the free shipping, don’t forget you have access to unlimited reading, watching and listening!
If you don’t have a prime membership and don’t plan to have one, but would like to enjoy the benefits for the next few weeks, you can get a free 30-day membership here. Just don’t forget to schedule a reminder to cancel before the trial ends.
And for those of you who are now working from home, here’s a great post on the Best Practices for Telecommuting Employees.
While schools are attempting to convert their traditional lessons so that they’re accessible online, there’s a chance your children might still experience some learning loss. If you’re concerned about keeping their minds stimulated, here are some educational activities for them to enjoy.
If you aren’t trying to replace school but simply want to keep your kids’ minds stimulated, try some of these educational activities.
- 15 Fun Educational Activities for Kids
- 15 Amazing Spring Science Experiments
- Children’s Literature Unit Studies (that can be done in a short amount of time!)
- 30+ Easy Preschool Crafts
- Free Alphabet Printable Pack
Free Online Learning Resources
Worried about the long-term effects of no school? Want to be more proactive about filling the learning gap without taking on full-time homeschooling? Try these free education sites.
- Scholastic Learn at Home
- PBS Learning Media
- Nat Geo for Kids
- Highlights Kids
- Camp Invention®
- Cool Math
I also found this very cool graphic on That Fun Teacher’s Facebook page. Embedding it so you can click through and see all of her other great resources!
This post on Emergency Homeschooling is a wonderful resource if you want to really jump in with both feet.
I’m loving this free video series of kids cooking lessons from $5 Dinners too.
And desperate times call for desperate measures so if you’re considering relaxing your kids’ screen-time restrictions, here’s a list of over 150 Educational Shows on Netflix. Maybe letting them watch educational shows will alleviate any of your guilt over the number of hours they spend in front of the television.
Have your YouTube obsessed children follow Science Mom and Math Dad on YouTube for free daily lessons.
For teens and adult education, check out this collection of free online Ivy League courses.
Even if local gyms remain open, it may be difficult to practice social distancing in them. If you’d rather avoid the risk, here are some options for working out at home.
The following workouts were designed with moms/adults in mind to do at home:
- Quick and Easy Workouts at Home
- Easy Anytime, Anywhere Workouts
- 50+ Fitness and Exercise Tips for Busy Moms
Here are some fun, free resources to encourage the kids to be active indoors:
My teen daughters have been doing Tik Tok dance challenges. I tried do jump in with them since they were having so much fun but I do more waving my arms around awkwardly and stomping my feet because I can’t catch on as fast as the kids.
Feeding the Family
Since we’re supposed to limit our exposure to other people, we should try to shop in bulk and plan to be able to feed our families for two to three weeks before restocking.
Stock Up on These Items
Choose foods that keep the longest and are easy to store in the pantry or freezer.
- Whole grains like brown rice, whole wheat pasta, and oats
- Root vegetables like potatoes, carrots, onions and squash
- Hard fruits like apples and pears
- Citrus fruits like oranges and lemons
- Frozen vegetables and berries
- Meats that freeze well like steak, ground beef, chicken, and pork
- Canned goods like soup, tomatoes, and beans
Here are some easy recipes that use items from the list above.
- Instant Pot Spaghetti and Meatballs (uses frozen meatballs)
- Instant Pot Taco Soup
- Instant Pot Sloppy Joes
- Instant Pot Pork and Beans
- Slow Cooker Chicken Noodle Soup
- Easy Tortellini Dinner
- Turkey Chili
Also, now is the perfect time to learn how to batch prep freezer meals for your Instant Pot or slow cooker. One of my favorite freezer meal sites has put together this plan to prep 20 meals in one hour!
Resources for Families with Special Needs Children
If you have an autistic child, you face unique challenges when it comes to school closings and hygiene. Here are some resources that should help.
- How to Survive a Quarantine with Your Autistic Child
- How to Help Your Autistic Teenager with Personal Hygiene
Social distancing doesn’t mean you have to avoid your friends and family altogether. As a blogger, most of my best friends live far away from me but we manage to see each other every day!
You can video chat for free via Skype, Google Hangouts, FaceTime, and Duo.
Also, Caribu (a super cool app that lets people play games and interact with each other via video chat) has made their service free during the pandemic.
And since social distancing doesn’t mean staying locked indoors 24/7, get out in the neighborhood (safely) and try some of these ideas for building community during isolation.
Most importantly, don’t let the widespread concern lead you to panic. If you need help grounding yourself, check out these helpful posts:
- 7 Ways to Stay Grounded & Calm Amidst Social Unrest
- A Prayer for Healing Protection
- 15-Minute Self Care Activities
If you use affirmations to calm yourself, you can download this free set of 30 Affirmations to Settle Your Mind and Spirit.
Why not use the coming weeks to dedicate yourself to a self-improvement plan? Check out this collection of 15 Self-Improvement Activities and Challenges.
Keeping the Kids Calm
One of my favorite resources for kids anytime of year, but especially meaningful right now is the Big Life Journal. The journals are great tools for building kids’ confidence and teaching them how to face challenges.
Because of everything that’s going on right now, Big Life Journal is offering all of their printable kits at a 50% discount (just use code STUCKHOME).
One of the best ways to feel better about what’s happening in the world right now is to take action and do what you can to make this time easier for others. Here are some ways to do it while observing social distancing.
- Reach out to people you know (by phone, text, email or social media) to see if anyone needs anything.
- Offer to buy groceries for your elderly neighbors or family members.
- Offer to watch the children of your friends who must still go to work.
- You can help local small businesses like restaurants, gift shops, and hair salons, by buying gift cards online to use later so they can cover their regular expenses.
- Visit your favorite blogs! Despite tons of people being online right now, most aren’t visiting blogs who rely on visitors to earn ad revenue and affiliate income.
- Have the kids help you create cards, voice messages or video messages to be shared at a local senior citizen facility.
- You can help provide food for families who rely on free and reduced lunch programs by supporting Blessings in a Backpack.
- Help provide meals for the elderly by supporting Meals on Wheels.
- Make an appointment at your local Red Cross to donate blood. Blood drives across the nation have been canceled leading to a severe shortage.
Why Listen to Me?
I suppose this would have been more helpful at the top of this post, but as a busy mom I know you may have resented having to scroll past “my story” to get to the meat of the article.
So, I’m planting this down here just above the comments for those of you who are curious about my family emergency qualifications and the rare internet troll who was scrolling straight for the comments to ask why they should bother listening to me.
First, I’m not telling you that you have to listen to me. I’m simply sharing some resources and tips that I think you’ll find useful.
Which brings me to my second point — why do I think I know what might be useful? Because after 25 years as a military spouse, I’ve endured plenty of periods of isolation and being cooped up in the house with tense, energetic children.
I’ve also endured multiple natural disasters (an earthquake, a few hurricanes, and one tornado). My family is big on emergency preparedness so it’s pretty much one of my main hobbies.
Also, I never assume I have all the answers, which is why I got together with some of my smartest friends to brainstorm resources and topics that would be helpful during this critical time.
Finally, because my goal is for this post to be a valuable resource, I invite you to share your own ideas and resources in the comments below. I’ll be updating this post regularly over the coming weeks.