We find ourselves facing unprecedented times. I’m sure you never thought that you would find yourself in such a time as this. Your daily school drop off and pickups look very different as your kids roll out of bed and into their new learning space, still wearing pajamas with a mop of bed hair. Your home has been revamped to now include a school, gym and office space. School lunches have been adapted to whatever you could find in the shop and is probably something with an expiration date due in 2022. Break time may not necessarily include running around outside and playing on the jungle gym, instead Netflix is looking like a pretty good break idea as you quickly make some coffee and try sneak in a moment of peace and quiet. This moment is short lived as the kids are bored of watching paw patrol and started fighting over the remote. You try to get them to do a creative activity, only to discover that during your bathroom break, Picasso drew on the wall and the dog is eating all the Otees that have been spilled on the floor. You are mom/dad, teacher, coach, chef, nurse, janitor and everything in between.
Lockdown and isolation present enough challenges as it is – learning/schooling at home shouldn’t be one either!
Here are some tips to help ease the flow of the day
1. Create a timetable.
Timetables are so important during a time like this when routine has gone out the window. Kids thrive in structure and routine! A timetable allows kids to know what to expect hour to hour, day to day and usually, when a reward is up for grabs, they tend to follow it without much defiance.
2. Have different play areas prepped and ready to go!
Taking a break from TV and keeping kids busy can sometimes feel like a mammoth task that requires a lot of effort. You grab the remote, press pause and patiently tell the kids that they need to go do something else for a while. Heaving, sighing and tantrums soon follow as you have disrupted Hannah Montana time and it’s not going down well. 10min later – they are already complaining that they are bored and have nothing to do.
Having different areas already set up will make activity transitions effortless and easy. A little prep goes a long way. Grab a box/plastic container and create different craft stations in your home which contain everything they need to keep themselves busy for an hour or two. Think ahead and place puzzles in easy to reach places. Make sure that the drawing box has some blank paper and coloring sheets and printables, including a sharpener, pencils and wax crayons. Another container can contain recyclables such as empty boxes, food wrapping, lids, packets etc. During this activity, challenge your kids to build something or make a new toy out of the recycled materials! Have two or three stations ready and prepped, so when they start to complain that they are bored – you can redirect them to the next one. It is important to encourage your kids to pack up each time before they move to the next activity.
The point of these activity stations is to promote independence, that doesn’t require a “Mooooom” every minute or two so that you can also work/relax/clean/cook/whatever, knowing your kids are busy and productive. And please note parents, each station doesn’t have to be Pinterest project inspired, let your kids’ creativity flow and see what they can make and do!
3. Get creative with screen time
Netflix is a great resource in times like these. With endless tv shows and movies, keeping kids busy has never been easier. However, the all too familiar debate around screen time plays in the back of your mind and you start to wonder if you need start hiding the remote.
Don’t fear, desperate times call for desperate measures – however we can get creative and make it work!
Go read our article on Netflix to get some more ideas on how you can turn TV time into a creative educational tool!
4. Keeping Active can be fun!
Keeping active during lockdown is important and unless you have a garden or large outdoor space, this may seem like a daunting task. However, with some creativity, we can guarantee some good laughs and rock-hard abs!
It has been inspiring to see how home workouts have turned into a family affair. Whether your kids are 4 or 14, get them involved! Play a game of Simon says – gym edition. Not only will you get your workout, but your kids will get theirs in a fun and playful way! You can also create an obstacle course using furniture and household objects. This will not only get them active but will promote planning and problem-solving skills!
You can also play a game called Animal Moves. This is a game where you take turns to pick different animal that walk and move in unique ways. This is followed by everyone walking around the dining room table/up and down the hallway/around the house as that animal would. Enjoy some laughs as everyone jumps like springbuck, crawls like leopard and creeps like spider!
5. Relax and have some fun!
Not every day and activity need to be carefully planned and perfectly executed. Not all activities need to have educational value, perfectly aligned with school curriculums and expectations. You and your kids are experiencing something pretty big for the first time and in the chaos and confusion of it all, we need to always make sure that first and foremost, our kids feel safe, secure and loved in this time. So build forts, have a movie marathon and sleep in a little late on the weekend.
P.S. Boredom is also a good thing!