A Summary of Suggestions for Quarantining with Young Children – A RIE Chat Summary

(Beginning in mid-March 2020, when the world shut down, I began a bi-weekly conversation with the parents who had been in my RIE classes. Since not every family could make it to these conversations, but each conversation touched on important elements, I would often write up a summary of the conversation. What follows is one of those summaries.)

My heart is so full after a marathon session of checking in. Only a handful of people were able to make it today, but that’s okay…there was plenty of time to talk to each person and plenty of time for each to express what’s been going on. I look forward to continuing them as the days and weeks march on.

I’m taking notes during the conversation, so I can provide a recap for those who missed it. Today we talked about:

Daily life at home…all day…with toddlers…omg…

  • Be sure you are taking time for yourself. Schedule some down time…no chores, no work, no social media…you have to take care of your own mental health first
  • Sensory play
    • Playdough, oobleck, paints, water (let’s add to this list)
  • Physical play
    • Follow the leader, physical imitation, playing ‘fetch’ with your toddler, songs with hand and body gestures, setting up baskets for children to empty and dump/transport from one side of a room or patio to another, small trampoline
  • Involving children in daily household chores like cooking and cleaning
    • Involve children in simple tasks in cooking like tearing apart broccoli
    • Use “salad knifes” to cut up vegetables etc and egg slicers to cut eggs, avocado, strawberries etc
      • Picky eaters magically become more interested in food they have helped prepare!
    • Sweeping, dusting, laundry, opening mail…
  • One thing I didn’t say, but in retrospect I wish I had…don’t feel like you always have to jump to keep your child occupied or entertained. Slow down…allow ‘boredom’…or that time between activities and thoughts to stretch and grow. Help your child get comfortable with the idea of trying to think of ‘what’s next’…I keep seeing SO many posts on social media saying “I’m so bored…” well, what if you raise the next generation of people who don’t think boredom is such a bad thing? Hmm
  • Screentime vs Facetime
    • Most families are using more and more screentime…we talked about being conscious of observing them in the screentime…are they zoning out? Time to cut the cord.
    • This social isolation time is temporary, in the grand scheme of things, so don’t stress too much
    • Research shows that when children are watching a programmed show, the language receptors in their brains are turned off…so there is a difference between screentime and facetime!
  • Playspace for infants on their backs or new crawlers
    • A thick rug covered with a sheet or even a sturdy quilt. A few simple toys…metal, wood, cotton scarf, household items are fine. Set them around the sheet, near enough to attract interest, but not overwhelmingly close…
    • Rating the level of frustration when children are struggling…learning to hear the difference between ‘this is maddening’ and ‘I’m beyond the beyond’
  • Will this time of social isolation be a detriment for children’s social development???
    • This question came up with almost everyone I spoke to: we don’t really KNOW because this is uncharted territory, right? But we do know that children under 3 are primarily focused on attachment to their parents. Yes, they are interested in and learn from their peers….but all of what they learn is filtered through the relationship with their parents. And this is temporary…hopefully this will be akin to a child who has broken a leg…temporarily have to adjust and maybe walk funny with the cast on…but quickly catch up when the cast comes off…here’s to social development flourishing when we are all back together again!

Seriously, this is probably the best I’ve felt since this all began. I love connecting with you all and I hope that I’m helpful…and I KNOW our parent community is helpful for one another.

Looking forward to the next call…in the meantime, please find today’s reading from The Parents’ Tao Te Ching below…

With care,


61. Self-Acceptance
How do children learn
to correct their mistakes?
By watching how you correct yours.
How do children learn
to overcome their failures?
By watching how you overcome yours.
How do children learn
to treat themselves with forgiveness?
By watching you forgive yourself.
Therefore your mistakes,
and your failures
are blessings,
opportunities for the best
in parenting.
And those who point out your mistakes
are not your enemies,
but the most valuable of friends.
Your children will surely notice
the way you can handle criticism.
If you get defensive
and launch a counterattack,
they will learn to cover up
and deny their own faults.
Is there something you’re covering up now,
with either depression,
or hostility?
Lighten up.
Accept and forgive yourself
and your children will be blessed.