Mom's Isolation 'Bucket List' Trick Is Helping Kids Stay Positive While Stuck at Home

Katie Eborall

Katie Eborall
Katie Eborall

Like millions of people across the globe, mother Katie Eborall found her anxiety growing as her home city of Leeds, England, went into lockdown more than a week ago. Explaining what was happening to her two small children, ages 2 and 4, also wasn't easy, which is why she soon found herself brainstorming ways to make their home seem like a positive and safe place to be. On Day 1 of the lockdown, it suddenly came to her -- in the form of a "bucket list jar," which she's been using every day since. After she shared her little idea march 24 on Facebook, it looks like thousands of others are joining in too.

  • The idea was simple, really. Instead of focusing on what they can't do right now, they'd focus on what they'll get to do once the lockdown ends.

    "Every time we wish we could do something, go somewhere, treat ourselves, see someone we love, visit a new place, invite people to visit us, we’re going to write it down on a post it note and put it in a jar," Eborall shared in her now viral Facebook post. "When all this is over this will be our bucket list and we’ll work our way through the jar and be more grateful than ever for the little and lovely things in our lives. Until then we’ll enjoy watching the jar fill up with magical things to look forward to."

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  • So far, the family has been filling up the jar with just about everything someone can think of.

    Katie Eborall and family
    Katie Eborall

    Eborall tells CafeMom that they've jotted down lots of things we often take for granted, such as hugging grandparents, going to the park, and even going to school. They've also put in lots of activity ideas, such as swimming, ballet, gymnastics, visiting the zoo, and seeing friends. 

    Then, of course, there's all of the canceled plans they had for spring and summer -- like going on vacation, building sandcastles on the beach, and going to birthday parties. 

    Last, but definitely not least, Eborall says they've added some "cheeky" wish list items that they always talk about doing as a family but have never actually gotten around to doing. (aka a trip to Disneyland.)

  • Eborall says she's trying to limit just how much she tells her kids, because she doesn't want them to feel unnecessarily anxious. 

    Katie Eborall and son
    Katie Eborall

    Considering how young they are, they are also limited in terms of how much they can understand. 

    "I’ve explained that there is a nasty bug and lots of people are getting sick so [school] is closed for a while and it’s a good excuse to have more time with Mummy and Daddy," says Eberoll, adding that she only talks about it if her older son, Max, asks questions. If so, she and her husband are careful remind him that they are safe. 

    "I read somewhere that young children won’t remember what they did during the lockdown, but they might remember how they felt and how their home felt," she explains. "So I’m doing everything I can to make our home fun and engaging."

  • That means pulling out all the stops when it comes to indoor and backyard activities.

    Katie Eborall and kids
    Katie Eborall

    "We’re trying to do one activity online each day and a mix of new creative activities and things they already love doing," Eberoll tells CafeMom. "So I’m trying out doing puppet shows, planting flowers, and different crafts."

    She says they also love music and dancing as a family, so they "fill the house with music as much as possible."

  • While Eberoll has been busily keeping her own kids happy and feeling safe, she had no idea just how far her little "bucket list" idea would go.

    Katie Eborall
    Katie Eborall

    To date, her Facebook post has more than 132K shares from people all over the world.

    "What a lovely idea," wrote one person. "Thank you for sharing."

    "Whoever makes post it notes owes you big time," joked another.

    "I never imagined it would reach so many people in so many places around the world," Eborall tells CafeMom. "It’s really humbling, and I’m very glad to have played even a small part in helping people in this truly difficult and challenging situation."

    The mom of two said she's received messages of support from people in countries all over the world, which has touched her more than they could possibly know.

    "Seeing pictures of people’s jars and happy smiling faces has really helped me in return," she shares.