I knew we were in for trouble when my four-year-old son thought we couldn’t go to the local children’s museum because he had “the virus.”

Before the coronavirus outbreak, I had already worked from home a lot, and my wife stays home full-time with our two-year-old son. But it didn’t prepare us for how difficult life can be when four people (and two pets) are forced to enjoy each others company exclusively for days (and likely weeks) on end. In hindsight, we completely took for granted day trips to my mother’s house, or playdates with friends and family — anything that broke up the routine of being trapped indoors with two radiating balls of energy that demand attention and fight over one of the 17 Lightning McQueen toys we own.

Some moments are good, such as when my oldest son was attempting to describe the coronavirus outbreak to his younger brother: “We have to wait until the virus goes down the drain … then we can go to the hamburger restaurant.” (He’s talking about Shake Shack, by the way).

But it can also be stressful, like when my two sons were scratching against my door like Velociraptors as I attempted to work. Or when my oldest son kept screaming “No!” after my wife simply asked him to brush his teeth. Or when my wife’s only chance at a break was ruined by our toddler’s door-banging refusal to sleep. Or when both kids melted down because we refused to let them watch a fourth episode of PJ Masks. An on and on….

My wife’s favorite hiding spot is a small nook between our fridge and our cupboards. Don’t tell my kids, who exhibit Memento-like memory loss every day when they’re trying to find her.

If you’re like us — trapped at home with kids that are both lovable and detestable — there are a lot of great ideas in this Los Angeles Times story by Sonja Sharp. HuffPost had sample schedules that made me cringe, but might be helpful for some. Collider rounded up the best kids movies on Netflix if you’re trying to force Frozen 2 out of the rotation.

But mostly — and I can’t stress this enough — be kind to yourself if you discover your patience running thin these days. As one mom wrote on Twitter the other day in all caps, “IF YOU KEEP THEM ALIVE THAT IS SUFFICIENT.”

Other recent coronavirus cartoons:

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