Atlanta Parent talked to Erin Gray Morton of erin gray design, who is the mom to Celia, 14, and Alex, 12.

What’s your go-to craft or activity?

  • Walking, running, playing cards, putting puzzles together, playing Uno.
  • I want to start to have the kids do something to give back, like writing letters, and my sister is making masks.
  • I also ordered a candle-making set, coloring books, crossword books and how to draw books.
  • We’ve tried to keep the TV off, unless we’re going to watch a family movie.
  • We’ll take a sunset stroll down Peachtree Battle.
  • We play music every late afternoon or evening. We change it up, but music seems to life everyone’s spirits.
  • I’m always trying to think of something new, and I keep encouraging them to think about things they want to do. There’s some of that requiring them to do activities, but I’m also not going to be the one that’s 24/7 entertaining them. At some point, you’ve got to learn how to fill your day with things you want to do, and this is a great time to learn it.

What’s your go-to meal? 

We’re keeping that simple, like a big spaghetti dinner with salad and biscuits. I wasn’t able to find meat or beef for a week, but now we’re grilling out and sitting outside on our porch. My daughter will bake a cake. I’ve been requiring them to make their own lunches, which is a good way for them to learn and take care of themselves, and they’ve also had to clean up after themselves.

We are trying to support local business. For Easter, we ordered from Houston’s, and we’ve ordered from DAS BBQ. We’re trying to make sure businesses see support, and we’re showing our kids the importance of community.

What do you do when your kids say, “I’m bored?” 

I will send them out for a walk or run with the dog and that usually can reset their minds. Play on the trampoline. My son plays basketball, and my daughter plays soccer. I encourage them to read books, and I’ve had to force that a little bit, as I’m trying to make my kids who don’t like to read start to understand how much fun reading can be.

The first two weeks I heard a lot of the “I’m bored,” but now, I’m not hearing it as much. I think they’re starting to recognize this is their “new normal” right now, and it’s up to them to think about things to do to occupy their time. If they just sit there and do nothing, that’s what makes them bored.

Is there an educational app or activity they enjoy?

Reaching out to their teachers on their own has been a good learning tool, as they have to figure this out on their own. The teachers are doing a fantastic job staying upbeat and peppy, and I encourage my kids to respond. I think it’s teaching them to be prepared, like we have to be for a work meeting or conference call, and they’re learning at a very young age tools that are going to help them in the future.

How are you connecting to other relatives and friends during this time? 

It was their granddad’s birthday recently, so I made them create birthday cards. My mother passed away recently, and my stepfather is all alone in assisted living. We’ve been using the Webex app to schedule family calls, and we’ll have four families on to share and talk, and it’s been good since we’ve been through loss and are dealing with grief. The kids have been FaceTiming with their friends, keeping them connected and laughing. My son plays Fortnite, and those kids are connecting, and they’re laughing and having fun.

What other advice do you have for Moms at this time?

Try to wake up with a positive attitude, as you also have to make yourself happy and fulfilled during this time. I’ll make them breakfast, then go on a run, meeting a friend where we run six feet apart or using the Peloton app. Taking one hour a day for myself has been so helpful. Our kids are looking to us to see how we handle this, and it’s so important to show them it’s not that bad, and it’s going to get better. Let’s make the most of this.

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