Amid the COVID-19 isolation period, many of us feel like we couldn’t possibly be seeing any more of our family! However, seeing someone every day doesn’t always mean you’re spending quality time together. Isolation is an opportunity for parents to spend lots of time with their little ones. With a bit of intentional bonding time, your family may come out of this challenging time closer than ever.

So, how do you make family-time special when it feels like you’ve got all the time in the world? Be intentional about bonding and communicating. As a parent, isolation means you’re always in role-model mode. Be mindful of what behaviours you’re displaying to your little one. 

Create a family health plan

Some great ways to take care of yourself and show your family how to do the same is to develop an exercise routine and healthy eating plan. If your child is old enough, get them involved in preparing meals and learning about why you eat what you eat. Encourage them to try and copy your activity while you exercise. If you’re a two-parent household, get your partner involved too and stay healthy as a family. Sharing experiences and a sense of achievement after a workout or cooking a delicious meal can bring you closer together!

Follow the rules

Remember to set a good example for adhering to restrictions. Avoid touching your family if you don’t feel well. When returning home from the store, doctor, pharmacy or exercising, always wash your hands before touching anything in your home. Taking precautions to keep each other safe is an integral part of caring for your family right now, even if it’s tough to resist a kiss and cuddle.

If you’ve got a toddler at home, try some of these bonding activities:

Daily reflection

Discuss as a family about how everyone is feeling. Even though you’re seeing each other all day, making time to check-in can keep everyone feeling connected rather than just ‘around’.

Movie night

Choose a night each week where you sit down as a family and watch a movie of your toddler’s choice. Decision making is great for building your toddler’s confidence and seeing you get interested in something which interests them can be a rewarding experience for everybody (even if you’re sick of animated dinosaurs and random musical numbers).

If you have a newborn or an infant, your bonding time won’t be hugely impacted by isolation, as a lot of this first year is likely spent at home anyway. Here are some ways to enjoy quality time together.

Speak and sing

The sound of your voice has been soothing to your baby since they started hearing it in the womb! Speaking or singing to your little one can help them feel safe. Try night-time lullabies or reading picture books.

Kiss and cuddle

If you are clean and feeling well (preferably after a shower), give your little one some physical contact time. Skin-on-skin bonding is crucial in the early months. When you’re taking a break, perhaps sitting watching TV, lay your little one on your chest. A front carrier is a great way to keep baby close while you’re walking around the house.

Nurture your relationship

In a two-parent household, your little one is absorbing the way you and your partner treat each other. Remember to make time for one another and model respectful open communication. Try a date night each week where you sit down at the table with some candles, put phones away, and connect as a couple. Remember to appreciate one another; it’s easy to take your loved one for granted when they’re around all day every day. 

Nurture yourself

Taking time apart is part of spending quality time together. Communicate when you need some time to yourself, and be present when you do spend family-time together.

Remember isolation is temporary. Take each day as it comes, and tell your family what you love and appreciate about them. It will feel nice to hear it in return, too! Each day you spend at home, you’re doing the best thing you can do for the country as we get through this together – thank you.

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