Hearing the words ‘quarantine’ and ‘kids’ in the one sentence had ‘MWDU’ enter my mind like a flashing neon sign, while I pictured myself hiding in the dishwasher trying to get some space.
Postings are hard enough and I wasn’t sure my undies could stretch any further from my stress eating, but they pulled through – and so did we.
Whilst I wouldn’t say it was overly enjoyable, I felt pretty prepared coming from Victoria and having already spent most of the year in lockdown (never thought that would come in handy).
Let’s start with the best part of quarantine.
All meals are provided so you don’t need to cook! Maybe we were just lucky, but our food was awesome (although you eventually get that feeling when you’ve been eating at restaurants too long).
Housework is minimal. If you’ve got a washing machine you might want to wash some clothes, you might have a few little dishes to wash each night, and you may want to ask to borrow the vacuum every second day if your kids eat like mine, but it’s got nothing compared to normal life at home.
One of our biggest problems with 3 little kids, 5 and under, was their energy building up resulting in a daily Fight Club.
We set up obstacle courses using chairs, pillows, the couch, towels, ect and let them do as many laps as they could. We had dance parties, workouts, Cosmic Yoga, and just plain silly games.
Unless you’re going for sainthood, wipe away any restrictions you currently have with screen time. I’m not even going to justify it, just pack the gadgets and let it be.
Supermarket orders are worth organising. My kids are like fruit bats, but we only get 1 fresh piece of fruit a day so that definitely went on our order. The meals only come between certain times and my kids are snack queens, so adding all their favourite snacks to the order made life easier. Then there was also the problem of the kids not liking what was served.
We all know kids can be picky so I made sure I ordered some simple things I could cook for them in our little kitchen. If the hotel are happy for you to have it delivered the morning of your arrival so they can pop it in your fridge ready – even better because you’ll be tired once you arrive.
Pick your battles. It sounds petty and basic but it’s true. I could just picture some moments where reception probably held their finger hesitantly over the phone, contemplating calling our room to remind us other people were trying to enjoy their time so could we please keep it down.
I’ve become my toddlers personal poo holders as we don’t have a toilet step stool (or anything I’m willing to get covered from their disgrace). There’s not a whole lot you can do for that, so I’m just mentally preparing you.
We packed light on the clothes so that we could dedicate an entire suitcase to toys and activities because an activity a day keeps the crazy away. Play-Doh, puzzles, water painting, beading kit, drawing books, activity books ect (but new ones so it was fun and exciting). Basically – just become the proud owner of the crafting isle in Kmart. It’s worth it.
We try to alternate giving each other a sleep-in. If we don’t manage a sleep-in, even just a chance to be alone because it’s important to recharge before we crack it from the mayhem.
Once the kids are asleep each night, we normally sit on the balcony with an organic smoothie made from fortified grapes and cheers each other as we cross off another day. It doesn’t matter what you do, but I strongly recommend something to look forward to once the kids are in bed. It makes a big difference to our mental health knowing we have a nice moment to look forward to each evening.
Lastly, remember on the 14th day you will be released back into civilisation. I’m probably 10kg heavier and 10 times crazier, but we survived!
Thank you so much to ADF Partner Katie who blogs at Living My Family Life for her insight and general hilarity into quarantining as a Defence family.
Posting in 2020?
Your Toll Case Manager will support and guide ADF Members and their families who are posting into a location that requires a quarantine period.
Please do not hesitate to contact Toll with any concerns or uncertainty you have about your relocation.
Fact Sheet from DCO on Quarantining with Kids
If you have other questions, make sure you check in with Defence Housing Australia, Toll, or the Defence Family Helpline at Defence Community Organisation
We’re also here to advocate for you should you need us.