The news on the coronavirus gets worse with each hour that passes. More travel advisories have been issued, colleges are bringing home students on study abroad programs in Italy, the virus is now on every continent except Antarctica, Mexico has banned cruise ships from disembarking, 3 counties in California and San Francisco have  declared a health emergency, Quatar has ordered its citizens to leave Iran and in five minutes there will be more breaking news. The numbers of those infected is unreliable as Iraq and Italy are not testing for the virus unless a person is already ill. South Korean officials are asking that leaders of a church at the center of the country’s outbreak be investigated on murder charges, the Louvre in Paris closed, Rhode Island reported its first “presumptive” coronavirus case, and there has been a death in Washington. 

We know a couple who was sent home from their mission to South Korea. They were transported for the airport to their home by health officials and could not interact with family and friends. They will be quarantined to their home for two weeks.

A self-quarantine for you and me has become more and more likely.

You have stocked up your personal General Store with food, medical supplies, and hygiene products and it’s now time to prepare to survive two weeks “trapped” in close quarters with family. 

Quarantines work. During the 1918 pandemic in schools that shut their doors as soon as they suspected a case of the flu, it did not spread. Those who waited for confirmation of the illness saw more cases emerge. Once a school was closed and students who were ill were quarantined, the spread slowed down or stopped.

The city of Gunnison, Colorado took steps to protect its citizens during the 1918 pandemic. With the news that nearby towns were being hit hard by the pandemic, Gunnison took measures to protect its citizens: anyone entering the town was required to remain in a quarantine location for two days, and barricades were erected on the main highways and cars were warned to drive through without stopping. After three months, on February 4, 1919, there was an end to the protective isolation and closure order for the town of Gunnison. Only one death had been recorded. When a third wave of the flu arrived, 100 cases were reported in Gunnison and five deaths occurred. Quarantine works.

And, yes, for those who may wonder, the federal government does have the power to require a self-quarantine. We should all hope, for the safety of our family, that they will when the time is right.

Those living in rural areas survived the best during the 1918 pandemic. If you have a few acres of land you are much more likely to remain healthy – if you self-quarantine early. In past pandemics, those with land planted gardens and continued to have food to eat. Those in the city became desperate and often violent as the food chain was disrupted and store shelves emptied. If you have a family member or friend who lives in the country and they are able to host you, because they have prepared, that is the best place to self-quarantine. Contact them now and offer to help them prepare in exchange for a better place to wait out a self-quarantine.

Plan Now for Activities for Self-Quarantine

Now is the time to plan for the boredom and whining sure to occur after a few days.

Read: What did they call radio before it was called radio? Books.

Now is a great time to plan to read one of your favorite books with your children or grandchildren, or their favorite book can be read to you. Ask the kids if there are books they would like to read. Remember The Princess Bride? Reading gives you the opportunity to talk about important topics introduced in the book, faith, friendship, loneliness, fears and so much more. Reading improves language and writing skills and keeps your brain healthy. Prepare now: Gather or purchase books

Cook: You will need to stay 6 feet or more away from others now quarantined with you so if you have a yard move outside to cook and make foil dinners or Dutch oven foods. While you have coals make smores. Prepare now: Purchase extra aluminum foil, gather recipes and purchase ingredients.

Bake a favorite treat or try a new one you just haven’t had time to experiment with. Why not bake a treat you normally only make for Christmas. Prepare now: Gather recipes and purchase ingredients. Be sure to have plenty of eggs and butter.

Continue chores. Boredom sets in when we have nothing to do, not just fun or exciting tasks but ordinary and familiar tasks as well. Keeping all family members busy with the ordinary tasks around the house will also keep your home clean and organized which will lift everyone’s spirits.

As you know I have been facilitating the financial self-reliance classes offered by the church. I have also been addressing financial preparedness on the Totally Ready facebook page. Why not make self-quarantine a teaching time, Pay your children in monopoly money for their chores, as reward for a kind dead (good employees get promotions for good leadership), as a bonus for doing a chore not assigned but needed (like overtime pay), etc.

Set up a “store” for the kids to spend their money. Offer favorite candy bars, a soda, a book or craft, small toys from a dollar store, a movie pass allowing them to pick the next movie you watch, you get the idea.  Now you are teaching them to budget and save for the things most important to them. Prepare now: Make a list or chart with chores, more than once a day chores, daily chores, and weekly chores. Purchase items for your kid’s store.

Create a schedule for each day. Remember Saturdays and weekdays will all seem the same when you don’t leave the house. Make Sunday a special day. Hold worship services at home. Assign someone to teach a Sunday school class. Learn a new hymn. Write thank you notes to someone who has shown you a kindness or believed in you when you didn’t believe in yourself.

Week days should include chore time, unstructured play time, exercise time and time together doing something as a family.

Prepare now: Gather inspirational talks, scriptures, note cards, hymn books or copies of hymns, download music for the hymns if you don’t have someone who plays an instrument. Prepare a chart with a daily schedule.

Write. Another great Sunday activity. Get out photos of family members who have passed on, vacation photos, or holiday photos. Place one on the table or display on laptop or TV and set a timer for five minutes. Have each person write about the photo and the memories it brings. Do this for several photos and you have the beginning of a family history. Compile them later for each person. Prepare now: Find and set aside some photos. Print some of those you have on your phone and never seem to get printed.

Honey do. Get out that wish list of projects around the house that need to be done but never seem to get attention. You are all stuck at home so now is the time. This is a great opportunity to teach children and grand children new skills. Prepare now: Purchase supplies needed for each project, paint, wood, nails, sand paper, cleaning supplies, flowers, to plant etc.

Communicate with family and friends. Plan now to visit online. Join Marco Polo, Skype, Google hangouts or another online way to chat. If you have no idea what these are, ask a teen. Prepare now: Invite others to your group and determine how, when and for how long you will visit when the time comes.

Play games online. You do not want your children, spouse or yourself to spend time buried in your laptop or phone but having fun with those not quarantined in your home will lift spirits and make everyone’s life better. Set time limits for this, even 15 or 20 minutes can make a big difference in attitude. Our favorite is Psych. I even played it with grandkids as we drove home from a visit. I was in the car and the grandkids were in Oregon and southern California. Prepare now: Experiment with online games so you know how to navigate and play when the time comes.

Play games. Be sure you have your board games and puzzles organized and ready to go. Prepare now: Be prepared with treats as rewards to winners and snacks for everyone while you play.

Play games, again. Prepare now: Search the internet for free, printable games such as Mad Libs and print them now. Search for free crossword puzzles and create your own with family history type hints.

Watch a movie. Remember drive in movies? It was so much fun to watch movies under the stars as a family. Create your own movie under the stars memories. This may not be possible if you live in a community with very small yards where you may annoy neighbors. Be sensitive.

Move the TV and sofa and/or comfy chairs outside or just throw out a blanket and a bunch of pillows. Don’t forget blankets to curl up in.  If you have a DVD projector or have a friend who does, hang a sheet and watch on a big screen!

Snack bars always had candy, soda, hot dogs and popcorn. Do the same. Prepare now. Purchase movie snacks and sodas.

You may think 2 weeks or a little more isn’t that hard to do. Think again. Remember the cries of “I’m bored” two days into summer vacation? The bottom line, you have food and other supplies but reevaluate what you may still need to purchase, or find, to make a self-quarantine an adventure and not a nightmare.

Follow Carolyn on Facebook for more information and updates. Please ask questions as you have a need for some help.