If the thought of having your children cooped up at home is freaking you out a little bit, here is some inspiration for the next two weeks
Yes, two weeks at home with small ones to entertain is daunting. We understand the urge to panic-buy a trampoline — no judging here! But some forward planning, a sense of humour and a good dose of calm should keep your household relatively harmonious until 29 March.
Remember that, thankfully, kids don’t seem to get too severely affected by the virus, but they can be carriers. That is why it is important to take the responsibility of keeping kids at home and a safe distance from others very seriously.
On a lighter note, you can approach this with a positive mindset and see this as a lovely opportunity to spend quality time with your kids, focus on activities you tend to let fall to the wayside when the family is busy, and enjoy some downtime together as a family… even if not completely by choice!
Some kids will be thrilled to be home, some might miss school a bit, so just stay aware of how they are feeling and keep everyone in the household feeling positive.
Picked my kids up after school.— Taryn De Vere 🐨🦘 (@TarynDeVere) March 12, 2020
9yo: When she teacher told us we were off for 2 weeks we cheered for so long that she got really angry with us.
1. Plan a schedule for the next two weeks
Kids will inevitably ask “what are we doing today?” Even though these are unprecedented times, they will be looking to you for guidance on everything. Putting a plan in place will help eliminate cries of “I’m bored”, and also stop them having too much time to overthink and get worried. Whether it’s a daily challenge, designated arts and crafts or baking days, having a go-to answer will help distract everyone from what’s going on outside.
2. Teach them about the virus and hygiene in a non-scary way
Equip your kids with the knowledge they need to stay safe, and encourage good hygiene habits. It’s all about positivity, there’s no need for them to be scared, but these practices are our best defence right now.
How do germs spread? The Little Medical School has developed a Coronavirus prevention workshop. Lots of home-based activities to keep your little ones busy & teach them about #Covid_19 Here – they are using glitter to show how quickly a virus can spread. More on @morningireland pic.twitter.com/1oPgZobren— Gill Stedman (@GillStedman) March 13, 2020
I’ve been speaking to six year olds about what they know about #COVID19 Their top tip to stop the spread… cough like Batman, into your elbow. More on @morningireland tomorrow. Never underestimate a six year old, they pick up on everything they hear on radio/tv/general chat… pic.twitter.com/lBQ0nFVqdz— Gill Stedman (@GillStedman) March 12, 2020
3. Keep active
Everyone, kids and adults alike, could do with some feelgood endorphins right now. Whether it’s having races, using a skipping rope or bouncing on a trampoline, find ways to get them moving at home. If training sessions and classes they usually partake in are cancelled, they may be a bit worried too. Set aside time to practice skills they need, put a fun spin on their favourite activities like dancing and gymnastics by setting challenges, or just ensure everyone gets out for a walk or a cycle everyday.
4. Play dress up
Chances are your children have a few costumes around the house, so you can add a bit of mischief to a normal day at home. You don’t even need fancy dress clothes to have fun playing dress up at home. This may be the time to let your kids raid your wardrobe, like Kim Kardashian’s daughter Chi in this video.
5. Arts and crafts
If there is anything to stock up on for the next two weeks, it’s supplies like paints, colouring books, craft projects and games that will give your kids hours of entertainment. Make a display of their art and give a prize for the most creative designs.
Lots of kids are stuck at home in Ireland now. I have an idea. I’m going to set an art challenge each day and I’d love to see the drawings that people do. I’ll share them all at the end of each day— Will Sliney (@WillSliney) March 12, 2020
Good idea? pic.twitter.com/GGVxWeu7sQ
This I Am Not A Toilet Roll craft book is very timely, and available to order on Amazon.
Also bought these which is great for art n craft time! pic.twitter.com/2b9H1LvZCE— Sarah-Jane (@electricginger) March 12, 2020
6. Books, books and more books
Order new books online or download onto a child-friendly tablet or Kindle in the next few weeks. Escape the stress of the world we’re living in and escape to fantasy lands.
Where to go to during #Lockdown:— Joanne Harris (@Joannechocolat) March 12, 2020
The Hundred Acre Wood
A galaxy far, far away
7. Chores and cleaning
With everyone at home all day every day for the next while, the house will start to feel chaotic. Don’t try to take it all on yourself if you don’t have to. This is a good opportunity to encourage kids to clean up after themselves, to do their part around the house or teach older children life skills like using the washing machine.
8. Write letters
Maybe they’re missing their school friends right now, or they might not be visiting their grandparents for a few weeks. We’re sure grandparents or school class mates will appreciate a note with drawings and funny stories.
9. Limit screen time
Yes, Disney+ and Netflix seem like lifesavers right now, but watching too much TV or playing video games for too long will only leave children feeling more irritable. Here is some practical advice for parents on screen time from webwise.ie.
10. Find new songs to wash hands to
Chanting Happy Birthday to ourselves is going to get old quickly!
Gloria Gaynor washing her hands to I Will Survive is the hand washing video I didn’t know I needed pic.twitter.com/3HotD7RsS6— grant 🧔🏻 (@urdadssidepiece) March 12, 2020
11. Cooking and baking
This is a great opportunity to help kids learn about preparing food and get them to lend you a hand. Afterall, the meals will have to be prepared anyway, and if they’re helping out in the kitchen it’s another way to keep them occupied. Kids will also quickly get absorbed if the task at hand is whipping up some nice treats to eat.
12. Get creative
Challenge them to make their own St Patrick’s Day decorations or cards to send people for Easter. See who can come up with the silliest dance routine, or ask them to organise photo albums. There are lots of everyday activities that can be turned into a game. Try this colour-in-as-you-go activity sheet for smaller kids.
13. Take photos of their pet
If your family is lucky enough to have a dog, cat or other beloved pet, appreciate them and the distraction they can provide now more than ever. Take joy in their quirks, encourage comforting cuddles and catch every photo opportunity.
https://t.co/QJYqYnGvY9 pic.twitter.com/XNRZvuIi6V— Aisling Keenan (@aislingmkeenan) March 13, 2020
14. Keep everyone calm and informed
If they get scared, and are hearing worrying news reports, you can help them to be positive about it. Remind them that cleaning helps, that scientists all over the world are doing their best, and that people can recover from it.
If they’re climbing the walls or feeling anxious, learning to quiet the mind and try a breathing exercise could be a really helpful skill for children. We like this video for little ones before naptime.
16. Remember, it could be worse
My 6-year-old nephew’s teacher sent him and his 30 classmates home for #IrelandLockdown yesterday with brand new tin whistles.— Rachel Collins (@OrrCollins) March 13, 2020
This is what happens when a woman gets 30 shitty soap sets for Christmas #Coronavirusireland