We are all in this together—home, not alone! The world has been forced into a sabbatical of sorts and yet, your world feels quite the opposite. You are not alone with little people surrounding you and you are not alone as a widow! God is an ever-present help.
It is possible to have peace in our home, even with preschoolers, during this time of crisis.
Consider these options:
- Pay attention to what God might want to say to you during this God-ordained global shut down. Do not be consumed with fear during this scary time. Times of crisis are often the best time to be a widow because God shows compassion to the widow and fatherless. In Psalm 68:5 God promises to be your defender and to father your children. Point out to your children what you learn and see of God’s faithfulness in this crazy season. Allow them to share their thoughts with you, often God will speak through the mouths of children.
“But Jesus said, “Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 19:14
“Through the praise of children and infants you have established a stronghold against your enemies…” Psalm 8:2
- Keep your focus on God. Limit distractions. Garbage in/garbage out is not only true for our physical bodies but for our emotional and spiritual health. Turn off the news and turn up the praise and worship music. Feed your soul with God’s Word. Of course, time may not allow for hours of study, but God’s Word does not turn back void. Read just one verse and allow the truth to seep into your soul. We even wrote a blog to help with that, 10 Verses to Keep You Going!
“You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You.” Isaiah 26:3
“Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.” Philippians 4:8
- Trust God. The Bible is full of miraculous moments involving a widow. He sees you. He sees your children. He is sovereign and is sovereignly at work in your life. The greatest directive from God’s Word for the widow is that she put her trust in God.
“Now she who is a widow indeed and who has been left alone, has fixed her hope on God and continues in entreaties and prayers night and day.” 1 Timothy 5:5
“Leave your fatherless children; I will keep them alive. Your widows too can depend on me.” Jeremiah 49:11
- Rest and Relax. It’s ooooookay to allow for more flexibility in your life. While you’re home more than normal, enjoy the downtime. Don’t feel guilty if personal production decreases. A lot can happen in times of rest.
- Routine is crucial. Toddlers thrive on order in their day and you will too. Establish a schedule that works best for your family. While flexibility is important, ask yourself what do you want to look like when you walk out of the house after weeks of quarantine. Will you have gained extra weight in mind and body because of no structure? Are you closer to your family or did time together drive you away?
Below is a tried and true schedule for life with little ones:
8 a.m. Breakfast together (During this time of social distancing, don’t distance yourself from your family. Mealtimes offer some of the best opportunities for growth and even education.
9-11 a.m. Morning nap for babies (3 mos. to approx. one year)
9-10 a.m. Table time with Mommy (manipulatives, play dough, puzzles, etc.)
10 a.m. Story time
10:30-11:30 Independent play time. There is often more kick-back from this piece of the schedule; however, please give it a try! Start with 15 minutes of alone time for your child. Jump-start their play by showing them how–set up the farm house and play a few minutes with them then turn on some music and slip out of the room. They will be more creative without your presence. Increase the time alone each day until they are playing alone for one to one and a half hours each morning. This will allow time to devote to your older children who need your focus on schooling. Play is school for toddlers.
11:30 a.m. Clean up, with your assistance, then “free time” until lunch
12:30 Lunch (again, sit down together)
1-3 p.m. Nap/rest time for all
- Baby – 4 yrs. should sleep
- Children over 4 should read and rest. This is their time for independent play
- Mommy has time to rest in order to make it to the end of the day. Be careful not to insert chores that can be done while children are awake, like laundry
3:30-5 p.m. Playtime (outside if possible). This is concentrated time of play with mommy. Take a walk, swing, and run.
5:00 p.m. Free play while mommy finalizes dinner. Bathe children—another controversial thought on the schedule. For me personally, as a single mom, it was overwhelming to face dirty children and dishes after dinner, so I conquered the kids before supper.
5:30 p.m. Dinner (sit down and eat together)
6 p.m. Clean up dishes with help of older children. Assign toddlers the job of “thing-finder.” Give them a basket and send them on a hunt to find things! This will keep them busy and helps a little with tidying the home.
6:30 p.m. Video (30 minutes) allows you to finish cleaning the kitchen. If the children have fasted from non-stop screen time, a video will be a welcomed treat for all.
7 p.m. Devotions – the most important time of the day! Spend time as a family focusing on God. Read the Bible and talk about it. There are plenty of resources for this available.
Enter into their hearts with a few simple prompts:
- What made you happy today?
7:30 p.m. Tuck-ins! Another very important time in the day! Children, even teens, will share their hearts as you appropriately rub their backs and listen. You might think this to be an unusually early hour, but it has been proven that children need sleep and you need an end to the day! It’s okay if they don’t fall asleep right away. Put on the audio Bible or other stories that will bring comfort, and plant seeds of truth, as they drift off to sleep.
8 Your day is over to be repeated again tomorrow. Life is made up of routine. Spend this time thinking through tomorrow’s meal plan, school, or time for a hobby or self-care…a hot bubble bath with a good book. Tuck yourself into bed at a reasonable hour. A good day has a beginning and an end.