Cleo Family Toolkit: Surviving and Thriving While Sheltering in Place

Ideas for brightening your family’s days, while freeing up some of your own time during the challenge of sheltering in place.

Cleo’s Family Guides are sharing resources with our families currently navigating the challenges of sheltering in place. These ideas can brighten your family’s days, while freeing up some of your own time.

Online “Travel” For Kids Stuck at Home

Spring break canceled? Summer plans on hold? Virtual adventures can brighten your kids’ days, while freeing up some of your day.

Schema Play

Schema Play matches new activities to the types of behaviors your child already exhibits. If you’re working from home with kids, it could be a game changer. Check the link in our bio to learn more and to get specific activity ideas. Learn more about and get specific activity ideas here.

Daily Activities for Adults

  • Set up standing social video calls. Days can go by and then you realize you haven’t spoken to your sister or best friend in nearly a week. Try scheduling someone for each day. The structure can feel really grounding.
  • Are there projects you’ve been meaning to get to around the house or in your personal life? Make a list and then attack! Your local hardware or craft store may be delivering in case you are missing some essentials, otherwise: get creative and stay realistic. Just a little progress on that garden or deck project each day can feel utterly amazing.
  • Add culture. Many museums are offering free virtual visits, and several Broadway plays are available without charge.
  • Move your body! Meditate! Breathe! Many gyms and yoga studios and teachers are now offering donation-based virtual classes. Similar to time with friends, we recommend actually putting this into your calendar. Many folks find that if they don’t, they simply don’t prioritize it and day after day goes by without moving. There are lots of online options of free yoga and meditation, such as Free online yoga & meditation classes. Extra meditation tracks can be found here. Check out the websites your local studios or gyms for more familiar options.
  • Music! Dance parties! Either with your children, family, or on your own. Many artists are offering free live concerts during this time. For example La Blogotheque offers a free concert via Instagram Live every night at 7pm CET. Check out your favorite bands’ sites and see what’s out there!
  • Nightly happy hour! Try a new cocktail (or mocktail) every night. Virtual wine tasting is now a thing! List of wineries participating here.
  • Watch a new show. Amazon Prime is streaming free Kids TV shows and movies at the moment. Canal Plus is offering free TV streaming (EU only)
  • Start learning a hobby, many individuals are now offering piano, guitar lessons, language lessons, tutoring etc. online. Contacting a local music school should help you get resources/contacts for this. Another way to support local commerce and small businesses.
  • Give or receive a massage from someone you are confined with (children can do this and enjoy it, too!) Diffuse some essential oils. Find a longer list of at home “spa” treatments here, with ingredients that are found in your cupboard.
  • Read, if it feels right. That nightstand stack you haven’t had time to get to is calling your name. Virtual book clubs are now popping up, or you may start your own.
  • If you haven’t tried podcasts yet, now could be the time. NPR is always a fave. NPR is always a fave.
  • Write if you feel the calling; your experiences, your memories, write about what you are passionate about. Write a short story if it’s something you’ve been wanting to try. Virtual playwriting and writing workshops and courses are now available.
  • Watch comedy. Laughter is a stress reducer and immune booster. It triggers endorphins and can even temporarily relieve pain. The Laugh Factory in LA is live streaming their stand up. UCB comedy also has live improv and podcasts.
  • Unsubscribe from all those email subscriptions you never knew you disliked so much until now. This quiets your phone and your mind.

Activities for Children

  • The Playfully app is free at the moment and has daily ideas of activities that also help your child achieve milestones.
  • has free movement and mindfulness videos created by child development experts.
  • Audible now has free audio-books for children in various languages.
  • Try extending regular activities and adding new elements, like long baths with containers and water safe paints in the tub.
  • You can switch out toys (to make them seem new) once a week or so. They’ll be thrilled with “finding” this new toy or activity.
  • Spending even just a small amount of quality time per day with just your child and no phone will be essential in “filling their cup” amidst what feels like “half attention” during this period of working from home (and also decrease any whining that may ensue). The amazing thing about this research is that just 20 minutes a day of really focused “on the floor” time with your kid regulates them just as much as 4 hours does. The big difference is between nothing and 20 minutes! That is so much more doable!
  • Some zoos and animal-centric organizations are offering free virtual visits and live streams as well. If you are working while caring for children at home, check out our blog post.

Food Supplies Guidelines

  • Order grocery deliveries a few days ahead of when you will be running low to decrease anxiety.
  • Meal plan. What are the dishes you’ve been meaning to make forever, but haven’t had the time? What are some comfort dishes or recipes passed through your family? It’s a great time for baking! Make a list of those ingredients and put them on the list when you order your groceries.
  • Batch cook and stick it in the freezer, as working from home means prepping all three meals at home per day. Lots of people aren’t used to cooking so much, so make enough for several meals and heat it up when feeling strapped for time or unmotivated. Stocking up on some ready-made dishes or take-out will help strike a good balance.
  • If you live in an area where restaurants offer delivery, you can also help support their livelihood by ordering pick up/delivery (and not having to cook occasionally is nice, too). Most restaurants are now offering this service even if they weren’t before. Some are offering to leave the food outside your door to reduce contact, or doing curb-side pick-up. If they aren’t offering it, you can add a note in your delivery request mentioning it. Grubhub, doordash, ubereats, deliveroo are all on board.
  • Local businesses and farms are now offering delivery or pick up. In many areas, most farmers earn their livelihood from local farmers markets which have now been closed, their livelihood depends on us. Look up the vendors at your local farmer’s market to find out who in your area might be offering CSA boxes or to-go fruits and veggies.

Household Necessities Tips

Think about getting a 2-3 week supply of:

  • Baby/children: Diapers, wipes, cream, medicine (paracetamol/tylenol,thermometer, nasal saline spray), snacks, formula if needed, milk, baby-food, and anything else used on a daily basis.
  • Household goods like trash bags, coffee and coffee filters, toilet paper, paper towels, cleaning supplies (dish-soap, dishwasher tablets, laundry detergent, vacuum bags, etc), shampoo/soap/lotion, tampons/pads, toothpaste and any daily essentials like prescriptions, contact lenses/solution, vitamins etc. Some of these might be hard to find already in stores so we also promote buying for your family in a number that can serve your household well, while also thinking of fellow families who are in need of those supplies as well.
  • Immune system boosting foods: Think color! Frozen veggies & fruits are a great way to get nutrients and last longer than fresh. Foods with a long shelf life (canned, dry goods, soups) will be helpful during this time as well.
  • Pet supplies as well! Medicines, food, litter, etc.
  • Getting a first aid kit ready in case you don’t already have one. Also a bag with a change of clothes, some toys and snacks in case of need for hospitalization. (This is a worst case scenario one, but if this happens you will be glad not to be scrambling). This list from the CDC is helpful and informative as well.

Remember to rest, cuddle, and nap. Sleep helps boost the immune system, and periods of stress can be physically and emotionally draining. Cuddling releases the ‘love’ hormone oxytocin. Be gentle with yourself and your loved ones. We are all in this together!

Cleo aims to give the most accurate information about COVID-19, but details and recommendations about this pandemic may have changed since this story was published. For the latest information, please check out resources from the WHO, CDC, and local public health departments.