Balancing family life: Local parents keeping kids busy, entertained

By John Hamilton -

WILMINGTON — Parenting is tough. Parenting during a time of self-isolation in a pandemic is even tougher.

Some local parents are doing everything they can make sure their kids understand what’s going on while also keeping them entertained.

One of those parents is Lauren Spencer of Wilmington.

The mother of two-year-old Leila was concerned not only for her daughter, but also for her high-risk family members.

“The thought of us being asymptomatic and potentially spreading it to family members with a high likelihood of not surviving the virus is scary,” said Spencer.

One thing she hasn’t had to worry about is Leila getting bored.

“We try to keep a routine without getting monotonous,” she said.

Their activities include going outside to take walks and explore their neighborhood on nice days, drawing with chalk, painting, working on ABC’s and numbers, coloring, working on puzzles, d0ing online learning games and activities, teaching her to help with household chores, playing with building blocks, and lots of “imaginary play with her toys.”

“The favorite activity so far is to take a walk around our neighborhood and balance on curbs and brick walls. Since we can’t go to her gym classes, she likes to pretend they are balance beams,” she said.

She’s had to explain that they couldn’t go to the park, or to her gym classes, orto see family members.

“At two she’s too young to understand fully what’s going, but I tell her we can’t do those things because we don’t want to get sick or want anyone else to get sick, and she understands that,” she said.

The worst part of this whole thing, to Lauren, has been having to restrict things they were able to do and not allow Leila to see people she loves. But the multiple forms of communication have been a source of relief for them.

“We are doing our best to say connected in a safe way, and it helps,” said Lauren.

But despite that and being a bit stir crazy, Lauren loves spending time with Leila.

“I love spending that time with her and I am thankful to be with her and know she is safe,” said Lauren.

She knows parents now are in uncharted territory, but she asks that parents not forget that the kids also feel anxious and uncertain during this time.

“Give them (and yourself) a little extra grace now,” she said. “We will get through this.” photos photos photos

By John Hamilton