Getting alone time as a parent was already a challenge. Add in the 24/7 family togetherness of social distancing amid the COVID-19 pandemic, and it seems almost impossible.
But many moms and dads have gotten crafty and figured out some new strategies for carving out a little solo break from the kiddos.
We asked the HuffPost Parents Facebook community to share the creative ways they’re getting alone time in lockdown. Scroll down for 16 tactics for inspiration.
Pretending To Be In A Meeting
“Keeping my headphones on after my meeting is over to make them think I’m still unavailable.” ― Julie Marie
Going For A Drive
“I have told my kids I’m going to the store so I can drive around and sit in the car alone. When I came home with no groceries, I had to lie and say I forgot my wallet at home. Sometimes you do what you have to do to keep your sanity!” ― Lori Gottman
“Have the older sibling watch the younger one and go for a drive with the music blasting. Sometimes I’ll do it alone and sometimes with hubby. It’s very therapeutic and helps clear your head.” ― Tara Main
“Gas prices as they are, I either send my husband to take a drive with our 4-year-old or simply grab my keys and go alone. We have plenty of rural scenery to enjoy, and the weather’s been exquisite. Sunroof open and feel-good tunes going!” ― Theresa Carroll
Retreating To A Basement Or Garage Oasis
“I have a milk crate down in the laundry room in the basement. I will sit down there because the family knows there are spiders in the basement and won’t follow me. Sometimes I hide snacks behind the laundry soap.” ― Adrienne Arrington
“I sat in the garage alone last night. It was so quiet and peaceful.” ― Theresa Singh
Going In Mom ‘Timeout’
“I tell them I’m in trouble and I have to be on timeout; one minute for every year old I am.” ― Elle Jay
Sitting In The Car
“I work in a hospital, not with any patients but in an inner-office. My husband works from home with the kids. Some days, I go into work early to attend meetings. On those days, my eight-hour workday is 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., but I don’t always tell my husband when I’m leaving work early. I’ll just drive around or hit up McDonald’s and sit in my car until 5 p.m., the usual time I get home.” ― Melissa Peña
“I sit in my car.” ― Lisa Stephenson-Horne
“I gave blood last week to get some alone time, and help.” ― Karen Brehm Bogard
Taking Long Walks
“My husband and I go for a 3-mile dog walk most nights. It gives the kids their Fortnite time, gives us alone time, AND gets us some exercise. Everyone wins!” ― April Adams
“I went on my first walk alone yesterday and it was e’rethang. Did it again today. I adore my husband and son (and cat), but it felt good to just be with me, myself and I.” ― Naomi Raquel
Hiding In The Bathroom
“I lock myself in the bathroom for a bath. Sometimes I tell the kids I have to go to the shop so they don’t find me there.” ― Michelle Bradley
“Hide in the bathroom ― that is the first place my kids go if they cannot find me. I now hide in my car or in the closet. I also put my noise-canceling headphones on.” ― Mary Mathews
“I had to take a conference call in the bathroom last week because it was the only place no one would follow me! It hasn’t been all that bad, but that day was exceptionally trying.” ― Anne-Marie Caron
Giving The Kids Distractions
“Mine are 5 and 8, and one thing that has been great is when they FaceTime their friends. They get a play date and I get a break!” ― Corie Jack
“I have four daughters between 3 and 10, and I find arts and crafts is the best way to occupy all four of them at once. Collage, coloring books, play dough, etc. The last time I tried to hide in the bathroom, the 3-year-old peed on the rug, so I’m having to be more creative.” ― Alex Scott
“Give my sons their iPads and lock myself in my bedroom.” ― Sharon Briggs
“I volunteer at my local farmers market on Saturday mornings to get alone time. After my shift is done, I get to come home with fresh veggies, a refreshed mind, plus I get a vitamin D boost!” ― Jessica Marie Rivera
Getting Up Earlier
“I did manage to place an order and scheduled pickup EARLY, knowing no one would want to come with me. It was glorious to be alone for an hour!” ― Anne-Marie Caron
“Wake up with the sun ― house is quiet!” ― Sandra Tuckman
Staying Up Later
“Staying up way later than everyone to read or watch my fave TV.” ― MMurphy April
″‘Bedtime. Off you go.’” ― Christine Brady
Spending Time In The Yard
“I got a hammock, and I spend my alone time outside getting fresh air listening to audiobooks or podcasts. The kids are about 80% respectful of my alone time.” ― Amber Nation-Martin
“If it’s just me and the kiddo, I’ll occasionally put him in the Pack ’n Play or the crib with toys so I can get some time away. If it’s been a very stressful day, I’ll even take a step out back and breathe in some fresh air and take in some sun.” ― Anastasia Rose
Switching Off With A Partner
“I work still (seniors support services), whereas my wife is laid off for the duration of the closures ― which means she’s pretty much trapped at home with our two (8 and 10). We do have a trampoline, which she sends them out to for short breaks, but really, it’s all about waiting for me to get home and provide relief so that she can go for a walk, a drive or just lock herself in the bedroom and watch a show. As for alone time with each other...,*sigh*” ― Brett O’Reilly
“My husband works, but when he gets home I’ll often put the toddler in his office with him to take bathroom breaks on my own, or ask him to watch him so I can fold laundry, walk to get the mail, run to pick up some milk or bread or even beer, or just to drive around by myself to catch Pokemon in parking lots.” ― Anastasia Rose
Scheduling A Collective Break
“My kids are 10, 5 and 3 years old. They get tired of my asking them to do chores as much as I get tired of tending to them. So we talk, and we all take a break, usually by the end of the afternoon. They get their tablets, or watch whatever they choose on TV, or the little ones take a looong bath in the tub with some toys while the grown-ups get some rest. I really don’t mind them physically close to me (don’t lock myself in another room), as long as during that break they are playing or doing something else rather than in my face going ‘Mommy, Mommy, Mommy, I want this and that.’” ― Melina Rojas
Savoring Every Brief Moment
“You’re getting alone time? Only time I get alone time is when I take a shower... rosé margarita included.” ― Adrienne Marquez
“My alone time is walking to the mailbox and back every day. I have a 4- and a 2-year-old and teaching my first-graders virtually.” ― Kristin DuBois
Quotes have been edited and condensed for clarity.
- Stay up to date with our live blog as we cover the COVID-19 pandemic
- What happens if we end social distancing too soon?
- What you need to know about face masks right now
- Will there be a second stimulus check?
- Lost your job due to coronavirus? Here’s what you need to know.
- Why it takes so long to make a coronavirus vaccine
- Parenting during the coronavirus crisis?
- The HuffPost guide to working from home
- What coronavirus questions are on your mind right now? We want to help you find answers.
- Everyone deserves accurate information about COVID-19. Support journalism without a paywall — and keep it free for everyone — by becoming a HuffPost member today.