Shuts eyes. Deep breaths. 

So, here we are. Day 5. Two parents. One tween. One teen. Shit is getting real, folks. Shit is getting real, and truth be told, I don’t think my husband is going to make it. When he nearly cried last night because our 13 year old used the last of the sliced american cheese for her grilled cheese sandwich and he couldn’t put cheese on his turkey and cheese sandwich, I knew we were entering the do or die phase of this forced family time and something had to give.

Let’s break this down real quick. We have a tween and a teen. My son is 9 (almost 10) and my daughter is 13 and, as much as we’ve tried, we can no longer entertain these awesomely aged kids with slime, dirt and toilet paper roll projects. 

We are 100% out of the perfect Pinterest project stage of their lives and into the “please take a fu*king shower because, OMG!!” stage of their lives. Tweens and teens really can suck…

…the life out of you in a second so trying to figure something, anything, out for the following weeks, will be crucial for many, many reasons. 

Sanity. It’s crucial for sanity.

Making the plan

What do we do with tweens and teens besides lock them in their rooms and not let them out until all this blows over (which is illegal by the way, but I mean, who would really know, right?)? I really don’t know, but we’re going to try. And, in order to get anything accomplished, we first need to start with the…

Family meeting

When my husband’s anxiety was beyond what his meds could stand yesterday, I knew something had to give. We are in day 5 of who knows how many days/weeks stranded at home and there is no way we’ll survive if we don’t take hold of this situation and figure shit out. 

The Discussion

The long haul

We starting the meeting by discussing just how long we might find ourselves in this situation, and being in our close quarters of a house, we really need to figure out how we are going to structure our days so the kids don’t turn into mindless slugs.

I want to mention that we are NOT looking to homeschool the kids, Not only do I have NO idea about how to homeschool, nor have the time to figure it out, but my daughter is dyslexic and has ADHD, so I have NO idea how to educate her on nearly the same level (or any level) as an actual educator. All we want right now is to include some “mind-using” productive time to fill some of their day.

I opened with some of my own ideas:

  • Join local facebook group for daily art prompts. 
  • Join neighborhood book club. 
  • Lego build prompts.
  • Science prompts from local FB group.
  • Implement some of the ideas suggested in the resources sent home from the school district.

My 9 year old son added his own ideas:

  • Start reading Harry Potter series.
  • Participate in the daily art prompts.
  • Participate in the neighborhood book club.
  • Family game night.
  • Make a Fortnite gun from a $70 kit online.
  • …after discussion with parents, not make Fortnite gun from a $70 kit online.
  • Family game night. (He LOVES family game night!)

My 13 year old also provided some of her own opinions:

  • You know I’m not doing any of this, right?
  • I will literally not be able to survive if I know my friends might be texting me and I can’t text them back.
  • “Covers herself with blanket to further ignore any and all ideas provided by family members participating in this family meeting.”
  • I ’m not doing any of this. So, stupid.

I then provided additional options to my 13 year old daughter:

  • You will be grounded.
  • You will lose your phone.
  • You will never speak to your friends again.
  • You have got to be out of your freaking mind if you think you’re going to just sit here and do nothing for WEEKS. Like, out of your FREAKING MIND!

Then, my daughter responded with another, another opinions:

  • Stares into space.
  • Ignores everyone.
  • THEN, suggests making a magnatrain, like in her tech ed class.
  • Arts and crafts.
  • Baking new and different desserts.

Ahhh, she does have ideas!

Mommy and Daddy time. 

My husband and I are required to work from home so it is very important that we have quiet time to be able to get our work done uninterrupted. What does this mean?

  • No tween or teen can hover three inches from our faces wanting us to answer a question while we’re answering emails, conducting conference calls and, most importantly, when we’re on video conference calls.
  • No tween or teen can say “Mom. Mom. Mom. Uhhhhhh. Mom” all day long, especially while we’re answering emails, on conference calls and, most importantly, when we’re on video conference calls.
Food, food, food.

I figured, after my husband’s american cheese meltdown, it would be prudent to talk about how much the consumption of food goods has increased since the kids have remained home and how, it may be possible, that certain foods may not be available to us for some time. 

While we’re still OK here in HoCo MD, and food still exists in our grocery stores, the non-perishable shelves remain empty. We may be living on fumes for a bit in the near future and have to be prepared. We can’t do that if the food is consumed before it even hits the freaking cupboard!

The schedule.

After a semi-productive meeting, we talked about a daily schedule. The idea here is that my husband and I have a few blocks of quiet time out of every day to focus on getting our work done, while also being available to spend time with the kids.

Wake-Upmake beds/brush teeth
Wake-up -10:00amelectronics time / mom & dad work time
10:00am – 11:00amFacebook art prompt, arts & crafts, lego build prompts
11:00am – 11:30amwalk the dogs
11:30am – 12:00pmreading / quiet time / no electronics / mom & dad work time
12:00pm – 12:30 pmlunch
12:30pm -2:00pmelectronics time / mom & dad work time
2;00pm – 3:00pm walk the dogs / outdoor time
3:00pm – 4:30pmfree time, no electronics / mom & dad work time
5:30pm13 year old helps with dinner prep
6:30pmwhatever, don’t care, we’re done for the day!

The reality is, this schedule is gonna be as bendable as Flex Armstrong on a hot day, but it’s something. It’s a start.

Let’s get this mediocre party started!

Week 1 in this house sucked, like a lot. We were thrown to the wolves with school closures and work from home requirements. I completely realize that, as the days go by, there will be good days and there will be really, really crappy days, but as long as the expectation exists, we have something to work from. 

We’ll see how this develops. Stay tuned!  Good luck everyone! It really is a crazy time!!

Please tell me! What are you doing to keep your tweens and teens engaged while you’re at home?

Read More!

It’s been roughly infinity weeks since I wrote this post. Be sure to read my It’s been three-hundred-and-something weeks of quarantine: How are we doing? post to check is on my progress.

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