The hardest part about moving our little family to a different country in a pandemic may be the [more] complicated processes we had to endure through to leave the Philippines. On top of that is the daily uncertainties of the prevailing measures.
Long story short, we were able to go abroad. Yet there’s one more hurdle we had to jump over: surviving a 14-day quarantine. With a toddler. And if you’ve been a parent for some time, you would know better never to underestimate such circumstances.
Thankfully, we were able to secure a spacious room with a window. It was a standard view, but a decent one compared to being detained in some prison with only four walls to look at.
Mark and I put our heads together and came up with a list of things to do to keep our sanity.
1. Have a routine
We didn’t set a strict schedule for every hour, but we agreed to block time for:
Exercise in the morning and the afternoon. We made sure to exercise twice a day because our bodies needed to make up for the lack of activities.
Flag raising. Our window faced a government office that faithfully raises and lowers the flag every day. Tikoy is keen to watch the ceremony all the time, so we set the alarm just for that.
The idea is to add some “normalcy” to your day. It can be anything you want, as long as you can do it consistently throughout the two weeks.
Make a visual calendar so you will not forget what day it is! Also, it was a little activity that Mark and Tikoy did every morning.
2. Do something interesting
The two-week quarantine may be just the opportunity to do what you’ve always wanted. For us, it’s hosting our 3-part webinar series on Microinfluencing. Hosting a live webinar was something out of our comfort zones, but it was a pleasant experience.
3. Continue working if you can
I could work on our business remotely, so it kept me busy throughout. I appreciated my “days off” from chores as the hotel provided the food. Except for some minor cleaning, I neither rushed to get household work done, affording myself the luxury of focusing on my tasks.
4. Bring activity books
We brought Tikoy’s Kidstarter workbook. It’s a curious curriculum for toddlers that are filled to the brim with fun play-based activities, so the learning never stops. For most activities, all you need is a pair of scissors! Check out our full Kidstarter review here.
Other than that, we brought four Leo Lionni books for story time, and a pack of Mideer washable markers (to make sure the hotel room and bed is safe from our little artist) for Tikoy’s drawing time.
5. Schedule Play Time
We didn’t want to take for granted that Tikoy might feel the cabin fever, too–he was away from home, without his toys, and misses his grandparents and tita. So we carved out time to take a break from our work to play with him, eat merienda, or take a nap.
6. Never leave without a toy
Toys, books, blankie–bring it. We’re not suggesting you bring everything, but your toddler needs something familiar to appease him. We brought one toy, and four paperback books to bring some comfort.
It’s nice to have people to talk with to help process our major decision and take in the new country. We kept to our small groups and called friends and families.
Above all, it’s good to be aware of yourself and acknowledge your feelings. Once the cabin fever starts to kick in (irritability and restlessness), it is easier to manage it when you accept it and talk it out with your spouse and family. During our stay, we also checked in on Tikoy because kids can feel it too and perhaps need more help in processing it.
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