The Quarantine Effect: How not to go stir crazy when stuck indoors

When we first brought Addison home from the hospital at the end of September 2011, the doctors and nurses preached to us about keeping her quarantined during cold and flu season to reduce the risk of contracting RSV. At the time, it really wasn’t a big deal to stay home since we had an apnea monitor and portable oxygen tank that went everywhere with us. We were careful when taking her to doctor appointments and insisted that any visitors washed their hands immediately upon entering the house. This may have seemed extreme to some, but it was what we had to do to keep our baby girl healthy.

First walk around the neighborhoodAs time went on, it became increasingly difficult, especially when her pulmonologist discontinued the oxygen during the daytime, not to take her with us to the grocery store, birthday parties or holiday gatherings. Since the weather in NOLA is usually pretty mild during the winter, we were able to go on lots of walks around the neighborhood, which our pediatrician encouraged. I believe this is the main reason our girl loves the outdoors so much!

Although it was tough not to take Addison to see Santa Claus for her first Christmas or take her to her first Mardi Gras parade, we knew it would just be a matter of time before we would be able to turn her into a little social butterfly. Once spring time rolled around, we met up with friends on the weekends, celebrated birthdays, attended outdoor concerts, and went on our first family vacation. We even started making plans for this fall and holiday season. However, all of those plans quickly came to a halt when our pediatrician strongly suggested we keep Addison away from others for another fall/winter season. Her office had seen two confirmed cases of RSV just at the beginning of October, and the flu had already begun to make the rounds. We couldn’t be too cautious.

It was one thing to be, for lack of a better word, stuck indoors with a baby last year, but this year, we have a very active toddler on our hands. I had to put my feelings of disappointment aside, dig deep inside to find that creative gene, and bring some of those holiday events to us. After all, isn’t that what Pinterest is for?

Bring the holidays to you! 

If you find yourself searching for ideas to keep your little one (and yourself) occupied while on “house arrest” to prevent, or recover from, an illness, there are quite a few things you can do to pass the time:Reindeer Footprint

  • You can create your own little pumpkin patch with a few bales of hay, pumpkins in different shapes and sizes, and a scarecrow!
  • Since now you won’t have to stand in line at the mall, you can ask a relative or friend to dress as Santa to come to your house to take pictures. What child wouldn’t want their own little visit from Santa?
  • When Addison was really small, a friend even suggested having someone wear just the glove and jacket to hold her little head in his hand to take a picture. I sure wish we would have taken their advice to have that picture in her baby book.
  • We found lots of toddler craft ideas on Pinterest to make, such as salt dough ornaments, cardboard gingerbread houses and reindeer footprints to preserve memories with our little ones.
  • Don’t forget about baking goodies. From sugar cookies to peanut butter cookies to chocolate chip cookies, your options are endless. Little fingers LOVE to help out in the kitchen. Just remember: sometimes to create the best memories, you will have to overlook the mess.
  • If they’re old enough, a shoe box float is always a fun craft project for any NOLA child.

Other ideas to beat the boredom

Because the weather has not been the greatest the last couple of weeks, our walks around the neighborhood have been few and far between. Now that we’ve (almost) exhausted all of the holiday crafts her little brain can handle, I’ve been keeping my eyes and ears open for more ideas on ways to keep all of us from going stir crazy while indoors. A few that I have introduced, or plan on introducing, in our house soon are:

Aquadoodle Mat to occupy toddler

  • Making our own felt board to incorporate early learning into a fun activity. It’s never to early to introduce educational activities into play time. Look at how cute these Mr. & Mrs. Potato Head felt pieces are! What better way than to foster creativity at the same time?
  • We have also started rotating Addison’s toys each week so that she does not get bored playing with the same ones over and over again. The look on her face each time we bring out the new bucket on Sunday afternoon is priceless!
  • When Ashley posted a picture of her son enjoying his new Aqua Doodle mat that he received as a Christmas gift, I knew it had to be our next purchase. I can definitely see this keeping Addison busy for longer than five minutes.
  • Even though I work full time outside of the house, there are still times when we’ve exhausted every possible activity we can think of and/or Addison is just not interested in any of it and it feels like the walls are closing in on us. It’s at those times when just having a friend over for coffee could make all the difference in the world.

Of course, we are looking forward to and counting down the days until this quarantine season is over, but we are making the best of it. Not all of our attempts at being artistic and creative are successful, but we sure do have fun trying!

Tell us! What are some toddler/kid friendly activities you like to do when cabin fever strikes?


  1. We had our own bought of RSV a few weeks ago and could have totally used some of these tips while we were on house arrest. The shoe box float is such a great idea! Thanks for sharing your ideas.

    • Sorry to hear your little one had RSV! With the lovely weather we’ve been having lately, it’s been tough to even go for walks around the neighborhood & we all have a touch of cabin fever.

  2. I love that you mentioned the shoe box float! I wanted to do that with our mom’s group here last year. I think these Texans thought I was nuts!!

  3. Last rsv/flu season we were on house arrest once I brought my micropreemie home in January. This season I’m not as strict as I was last year but I still try not to leave the house unless it’s for his therapy appointments or a doctors appointment. With these preemies you just can’t be too safe or in my case neurotic. I can’t wait till Spring!

    Thanks for sharing your ideas!


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here