It is likely that your children will be around home more than normal at the moment! The current recommendations for social distancing mean that our normal activities have been put on hold and we can’t go and visit family and friends. Plus we have the Easter long weekend coming up! For many families this would usually be a time of going away for holidays and fun, so we need to come up with a plan for keeping kids entertained at home.
The internet is full of great ideas, activities and advice but it can be a little overwhelming so I have collected my favourites:
Routine is important for adults and even more so for children! When everything is changing, keeping a regular routine will help to keep children feeling safe and secure. Prioritise the basics – regular bedtime, meal times, inside and outside play, time for jobs, and screen time.
Make screen time your friend
Plan out the times in your day when you or your children need downtime and use screen time then. Keeping screen time special will mean your children are more likely to engage and sit quietly while you get an important job done!
Research different types of screen times
There are zoos offering live streaming of their animals’ feeding time, you can take a tour of a museum, listen to a story read by a celebrity or take part in a fitness class on YouTube! There are some great educational opportunities available for you to utilise.
If you are feeling stuck or bored, try mixing things up with a themed day. Try an outdoor day, pyjama day, pirates day, or backwards day.
Accept the boredom
Things are different and children will be bored. Let them express this and sympathise with them. Provide a few suggestions and then leave them be, boredom provides the time and space for new ideas and opportunities.
There are still jobs to be done so get your children involved. It’s great to have children help out around the house but usually takes longer to get each job done, so take this opportunity while you have extra time at home to get children helping!
Make sure children understand
Explain in simple language why you are spending extra time at home. When children understand that they are helping to keep others safe this helps them to be in control of the situation. Use language like “When we stay at home we are helping to keep our friends safe and healthy.”
Put away toys and bring fresh ones out every few days. Children often play more happily with fewer toys (also less mess to clean up!) and will be excited when the new toys come out.
Spend time outside
Spending time in nature is important for all of us. If children aren’t doing their regular activities they will need extra time outside to run around and burn off energy. You can even try setting up your desk outside!
Hang in there
This period won’t last forever and you will make it through. Be kind to yourself and do what works to make it through each day.