Friday, October 9, 2020

The Best Investments For Lockdown Sanity

Corona, Covid, the Rona, the plague, whatever you call it, it sucks. It sucks because in addition to all the people that have died, in order to prevent more deaths, so many staples of our life have been removed. So many things that were things we relied on to have happy, healthy, and sane lives have been snatched away, which is leading many people to have difficult and stressful lives. 

Everyone's life is stressful during corona for different reasons. If you're single you might be craving company. If you're a teacher, trying to work via zoom is really hard. If you work in the health care field, the stress of possibly catching or working with very sick patients can take a huge toll. If you're out of a job or have decreased income because you're in an affected industry finances difficulties can make this really difficult. 

But as I am not in those situations, I want to talk about things that have been a big investment for my family's sanity during lockdown, as a family living in a smallish house with 4 kids, as a single parent, working from home.

Tech. I'm not going to be one of those parents that says "I never use tech, its a bad thing." Remember as I wrote in my post about corona schooling, sanity is important. Use tech. Tech is a tool, and its a great tool especially when you need to entertain your kids while you are trying to work. There's so many educational things out there on the internet- take advantage of them! Before corona started, we had my computer, I had my phone, a TV in my room, and each boy had his own cell phone. Since then, I purchased two cheap tablets, fixed my old broken laptop, and bought a desk top for Lee who needs a computer for school at home. I also fixed my old cell phone. This way my kids can each watch whatever shows they want, play whatever games they want, and have a variety of tech at their disposal (some things only work on a cell phone or tablet, some only on the computer) without needing to be in my bedroom, which affects my ability to work. A wireless internet extender has also been priceless, since that makes the rest of the house have better internet, so people aren't crowding outside my bedroom door with noisy movies, attempting to get better internet.

Trampoline. This was purchased before lockdown but it has been amazing for getting out kids' energy especially when we are in quarantine and can't leave our property.

Above ground pool. This was purchased after lockdown for this reason specifically and it was a wonderful investment. It currently needs a patch so isn't in use, but gave us many many hours of fun at home.

Yoga hammock. A good way to get out energy indoors.

Roller blades and skateboards. When we're limited to only going 500 meters from our home during lockdown, but want to be able to get out our energy in a fun way in limited space, this works out perfectly for that.

Printer. Our printer died but I'm getting a new one very soon because being able to print out things gives us much more ability to entertain the kids.

Amazon Echo Dot. Ok, not everyone needs this specifically, but basically something that can play music so you can have a dance party or even just a singing session. Mine is connected to my Spotify account.

Paint supplies. Gauche paint, brushes, canvases of various sizes- this has allowed us to have many fun paint nights. Cheaper still is water colors and paper, which we also have, and make painting less of a messy production and can be done individually by the kids.

Art supplies. Sorry for separating out paint, but I think paint is the most fun. But having lots of paper on hand, crayons, markers, colored pencils, regular pencils, glue, etc... just give the kids free reign. Yes, it makes a mess, but the quiet time you get in which you can work is definitely worth it.

Piano or keyboard. I purchased this actually two years ago, but the kids only somewhat got into it. I started teaching my kids more, writing more songs out for them, and when they tell me they're bored, directed them towards it. My kids downloaded the free version of the Simply Piano app and loved it, but I never paid for it, so they stopped using it. So during lockdown, I bit the bullet and paid for the full program, so that they can learn as much piano as they want, self directed, and since they each have their own device, they can use it whenever they want to play. Totally worth the money.

Board games and card games. We have Catan, Ticket to Ride, Sushi Go, Apples to Apples, Mancala, and Ruckus among others. (Those are our favorite.) Some purchased from aliexpress, some full price, some second hand. Hours of entertainment.

Books, kindle apps, and a library card. Ike has been obsessed with reading lately, and it keeps him very entertained for hours. I purchased some books for him, but downloaded the kindle app on his phone, and have gotten many kindle books for free via my library card.

Desk and office chair. This makes working from home less painful. I had a desk in Lee's room which used to be my office, but then he moved into it, and he used the desk for his work, so I worked from my bed. Which hurt my back. Admittedly I still work from my bed too much, but at least I have a desk and office chair which I can use when I want to be more focused.

Toys are great but my older kids don't really play with them. Lego and Barbies and LOL dolls entertain my younger children though.

I want to get a projector so that my kids can watch a movie together on a "big screen" in the living room, comfortably, instead of in my bedroom, so that I can work quietly in my room/office.

THERAPY!!! Oh, and I almost  forgot this most important thing of all! Having therapy over the internet, though far from ideal, has helped so much with keeping my sanity during these trying times! 

No, lockdown and quarantine aren't easy. But I'm so glad I invested in these items, so that I could maintain at least a shred of sanity during this time. And of course, many times my kids forget about these things, so when they tell me "Mommy, I'm bored!" I remind them about these things we have available, and then they find something entertaining to do.

What have you found to be the best investments for your family's sanity during lockdown?


  1. What a wonderful list! Thanks so much for sharing. Do you find that your kids gravitate toward some of the options more than others? We have a lot of games, various electronics, and a neighbor with a basketball hoop that they let us use. One of my boys likes to sketch so I make sure he has a new sketch pad when he needs one. We have also employed counseling a couple of times. It is truly the most important thing, preserving mental health.

  2. I've read your blog for many years, and this post makes me think, how lucky the pandemic happened for you now, and not when you were in the teeny apartment without a spare two cents to rub together. I think it would have been harder then, though of course I'm only looking at your life through the lens of your blog and can't know what anything really would be like. It just seemed like survival took a great deal of effort and time back then, and relied so much on you being able to bus around to many different shops and markets, and spend a ton of time in the kitchen processing the least expensive meat and veggies and fruit you could find. Also, the kids were all in one room, weren't they? Didn't you have a triple bunk bed at one time? It seems like you have a bit more breathing room, both in terms of your home and your budget, and I would imagine you are thankful for both in this time. I think your list is brilliant. Kudos to you for getting four children through this time as happily and healthily as possible. Especially as a single parent. That's a major accomplishment!


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