How to Prepare for a Quarantine
As we are all facing an unexpected global health crisis, it’s important to think through how our lives will be impacted in the weeks to come, the role we have to play in lessening the crisis, and what we can be proactively doing to ensure our own well being and the well being of others.
Do the Five, and then some
If you’ve been to Google’s home page recently, you may have noticed the words “Do the five. Help stop coronavirus.”
- Wash your hands
- Cough into your elbow
- Don’t touch your face
- Stay more than three feet apart
- If you feel sick, stay home.
This is also a great time to do some all-around spring cleaning. When my kids came home from the germ factory known as school on Friday, they all took baths/showers and we washed lunch boxes, backpacks and coats. We’ve been doing a lot of laundry and wiping down surfaces repeatedly. We’ve also been staying at home.
The good news is the weather is improving for us this coming week and the kids should be able to play outside soon which will help with the cabin fever.
In the meantime, we are cleaning, purging, organizing, playing board games, and doing some of those annoying home maintenance tasks that have been neglected.
Purchase basic food items
Most kids can crush a box of Life cereal in a single morning, but a five pound bag of oats will feed people for quite a long time. Whether you have to stay at home or are choosing to, stocking the basics will allow you to avoid the grocery store for a longer period of time.
(Remember, this is a virus, not a food shortage. Purchase a reasonable amount. The grocery stores will be open in the future.)
Wondering what to do with a five pound bag of oats?
- Overnight Pumpkin Oats recipe
- Oatmeal Sweet Potato Pancakes recipe
- Carrot Cake Baked Oatmeal (gluten and dairy free)
- Overnight Oats Breakfast in a Jar recipe (with variations)
Here’s more of our favorite simple ingredient recipes:
- Crockpot Pinto Beans
- Homemade Granola
- No-Knead Bread
- Quinoa Patties
- Simple Roast Chicken
- Homemade Chicken Stock
- Homemade Hamburger Buns
- Homemade Hummus recipe
There are so many more recipes you’ll love here.
Great time to deep clean
Remember you can make an incredibly effective disinfecting spray with regular old household bleach. No need to spend a bunch of money on retail options. Just mix one-third to one-half cup of bleach with a gallon of water. Dump it into a spray bottle and go to town. It’s important that you keep the surface that you’re disinfecting WET for five minutes for it to kill any infectious germs.
Note that according to the Clorox site, you need to make your spray every day, so you may want to make it in smaller quantities than listed above. Four tablespoons of household bleach to quart of water will work for a smaller batch.
And if you need TP, consider making and using reusable cloth toilet paper. Yes, it’s weird, but it’s honestly not as bad as you think.
This would also be a good time to get rid of that frat boy pee smell in your bathroom. Check out this post of ours that is hilariously #1 year over year for ideas.
If you are being negatively impacted financially, be proactive
If you are facing lost wages or even a lost job, this is not the time to put your head in the sand. Spend an afternoon checking off this list to get your financial situation in order:
Call your mortgage company or landlord. Explain your situation and see if they will give you an extension.
Contact your local utilities. Most have money in their budget to help people in need so that they don’t have to turn someone’s heat off in the dead of winter. They can’t help you though if you don’t answer the phone when they call, or come to the door when they show up at your house. Call them now and they will work with you.
There are many people and families facing economic hardship at this time and the government is working on the necessary funding to help people in need. Do your part by learning what financial assistance you might be eligible for as help from the government becomes available.
This is also a great time for everyone to take a look at your spending and figure out what you can cut back on. Chances are if you’re stuck at home, you’ll be spending less money already. Are there services you can cut back on or subscriptions you can cancel? Conveniences or luxuries you can live without for a time?
While some industries have shut down and people are unable to work (schools, restaurants, retail), other industries (like grocery stores) are booming. Seeking out temporary employment during this time may be necessary depending on your financial situation.
Specifically, we know that these places are actively hiring right now in the Pacific Northwest:
For those of you with limited options and resources, ask for help wherever you can. Let your employer, your child’s school, your faith community, your neighbors and friends know how they can help you during this time.
If you are NOT being negatively impacted financially, be generous
For some people this virus is an inconvenience, but it’s not going to significantly impact their life or finances. In that case, it’s time to help others and practice generosity. There are people in your community that are going to need help paying their rent/mortgage and putting food on the table. Not to mention finding someone to watch their kids so they can go to work.
Maybe there’s a single parent down the street who just needs someone to mow their lawn and/or walk their dog. Or an elderly neighbor who needs groceries brought to them. Or a health care worker who needs help with household chores.
Find ways to help (while practicing the recommended health guidelines). Log in to the NextDoor App or local Facebook groups to see if there are any needs in your neighborhood. Email the school counselor at your local public school to see what needs they are aware of. Can you help with your time or your finances or both? If you don’t know people personally in your community that need help, find reputable organizations to give money to.
Local small businesses also need your help. Purchase gift cards from your favorite restaurants to be used at a later date, order take out or delivery (once you’ve been assured of the health precautions they are taking), and tip generously.
Make a plan
Hopefully the most difficult part of all of this will be the interruption to your daily life. And while it’s way better than what some people are experiencing, it’s still difficult.
The best suggestion we have is to create a plan and stick to it. Make a schedule for how your day is going to unfold. And this doesn’t mean that you need to determine what everyone in your household is going to do every hour of the day.
I find that if we all get off to a good start in the morning, the rest of the day goes so much better. A great place to start is our special morning management system, Child, It’s Time to Get Off Your Butt. It’s a small set of tasks that you and the kids do every single morning to get people ready for the day and the household clutter under control.
Use the code FLATTENTHECURVE at checkout to get everything you need to dominate your mornings for $5.
(There’s also an extra special code for families who qualify for free or reduced lunch and health care workers.)
I’ve read in several places that our children will look to us and how we handle this uncertain and unknown time. They will learn their resiliency or panic form how we react in the next several weeks. If you can help, find ways to help. If you need help, find ways to ask. And ask your children (if they’re old enough), what they’re feeling and how they’d like to pitch in.
This is a great time to get creative in your cooking, in the activities you do with your kids, and in how you interact with others.
Erin Chase of $5 Dinners is doing a fun “Cooking with Kids” series on Facebook. This is a great time to get your kids more involved in the kitchen! Especially if you’ve been meaning to but it ALL SOUNDS SO HARD ON A BUSY NIGHT.
Vacations, events, and parties may have been cancelled, but we can still make phone calls, write letters, send emails and spend quality time with the people in our own homes. Reach out and see if you can find a traditional pen pal for your kids (or yourself!). Have your kids write letters or draw pictures to send to nursing homes as they are VERY limited on visitors, if any at all.
Play a board game with your kids or teach them a card game they’ve never played. See what your kids can make with the empty cardboard boxes you have laying around. Read as a family. Look through your cupboards and freezer and see what food you have that needs to be used up. Improvise in your cooking if you’re missing an ingredient. Find creative ways to save money and ways to make money. Clean your home like it’s never been cleaned before! Catch up on some rest.
There are TONS of resources on Pinterest for home activities, learning games, fun family togetherness ideas.
And for some inspiration, check out this video to see how Italians are making music together even while confined to their homes.
While we all have to wait and see how this pandemic will unfold in the U.S. and how long it will last, it’s important to stay calm. Do your part to stay healthy and help others stay healthy. Be a good neighbor. Share your stockpile of toilet paper. Be a rational human being when you go to the grocery store. Make plans for what you’ll do depending on how your circumstances may change in the next few weeks.
As always, be kind, be generous, and don’t forget to wash your hands.
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