How to avoid cabin fever during the COVID-19 outbreak

CHICAGO (WLS) -- COVID-19 has left many Chicagoans working and going to school remotely, so as families hunker down at home, here are some ways to avoid cabin fever.

Parenting expert Donna Bozzo has a few ideas about how to have some family fun during this difficult time. She joined ABC 7 Chicago via Skype Saturday morning.

Create Fun Work Stations:

If you don't ordinarily work from home or homeschool your kids, odds are your home is not set up for four or five work stations. She said to carve out space and create new areas for kids to do their remote learning.

Look for ways to make each child's space his or her own with fun pens, Bluetooth-enabled speakers, sticker-covered desk blotters and DIY name plates. Try coming up with some clever titles like "CEO of My School" or "Workstation Diva."

Bozzo also suggested including sensory desk toys, like fun little handheld games or homemade Play-Doh. It can be as simple as a doodle pad or just something to keep bored fingers strumming while they plow through all the online listening and learning.

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Declare It Family Game Night:

Speaking of games, turn your evenings together into Family Game Night. Put away the cell phones and pull out old family favorites, like Clue, Apples To Apples or maybe break out in some karaoke with easy-to-find, fun sing-alongs on YouTube.

Little ones will love making sock puppets and putting on a puppet show. Pre-teens might like Freeze Dance.

Or for quieter nights do a jigsaw puzzle! Even make up your own family game, like COVID-19 trivia, where you share facts and news about the ever-changing pandemic.

Turn Down The Night With A Camp Out:

As the day tops, the fun doesn't have to stop. No morning commute can allow for relaxed schedules and a not-so-strict bedtime.

Let the kids pull out the sleeping bags or mattresses off their bed and camp out together in the family room. Kids can make DIY lanterns with mason jars and glow sticks. Telling ghost stories and roasting marshmallows by the fireplace will certainly be a treat.

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Don't Forget The Teens:

Teens are prone to boredom, too, so look for ways to keep them entertained.

Bozzo said a selfie station is a good idea, as well as creating a home gym because many health clubs are closed. Parents can give teens a spot to jump rope off some steam or dance away to YouTube aerobic workouts.

It can also be a great time for journaling and chronicling these historic days.

Don't forget to try and enjoy this time together. Look at it as an opportunity to create lasting memories.

For more ideas for family fun, look for Bozzo's books, "What The Fun" and "Fidget Busters," available online at Barnes and Noble, Walmart and Amazon.
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