Parents in lockdown, we feel you. This lockdown situation isn’t easy for anyone. But if you have kids, it can be a little bit more tricky.
Whether you share the house with babies, toddlers or teenagers, most kids have attention span of a maximum of 15 minutes. This means parents are in need of some creative ideas to keep them occupied so you can do some work from home.
Create a schedule
This mainly applies to kids older than 4 years old. A daily routine and rhythm is the key. This doesn’t mean you need to play the strict parent, but getting up at a decent time of day and follow a reasonable routine can be quite good for kids. If you home-school (well done, by the way!) you can try to do so at the same time each day. Discuss the schedule with your kid(s) so they understand. Needless to say that there isn’t a one-size-fits-all way to schedule every kid. “Some children find security in following a school-like timetable, others thrive on a more child-led, free-flowing approach, but all children need some predictability in their lives”. Source
It doesn’t really matter what, kids love to bake! That being said, as long as they can lick the sugary spoon, watch their creation bake in the oven, and eat it afterwards. But there is a bonus to this; your kid will love the interaction with you, plus you are teaching them something without them realising it. In all honestly, I’m not the baking-type person, but this lockdown has certainly opened the gate for some new skills! This week I baked a banana cake that we now eat for breakfast, lunch and dessert. Who knows what next week will bring to the table.
Netflix is great but it isn’t always the solution to keep your kids entertained without them becoming too passive.
If you need to join a conference call with your quarantine colleagues or you simply need some you-time, this is a great temporary solution. Children love stories, especially when images are involved. There are several businesses that have (partly) free book stories available such as Bol.com for the Netherlands where books are being read by local celebrities. For English we refer you to Freechildrenstories.com where you can pick stories for every age and pick your theme! If you have headphones around you can also check out onlinebibliotheek.nl. All you need is a smartphone or tablet. Bol.com offers books for 1 cent and you need to download the app.
Go on a Bear Hunt
If you live in the Netherlands, you may have heard of this new phenomenon. If you look behind the windows of people’s houses, you may spot a teddybear. This is no coincident. The Facebook group Berenjacht in NL called all people to put a stuffed bear by the window. This resulted in children going on a bear hunt whilst going for their daily walk around the block. Have you spotted the bears yet? Note: always remember to keep 1,5 meters distance from other people.
Let them clean their toys
I’m not sure about you, but my kid loves to clean his toys. Whether it’s his bicycle (which he calls his motor), animal toys or something else that can stand water. If you have a garden or balcony it’s the perfect thing for kids to keep them busy for a while. Grab a bucket or low basket, fill it with lukewarm water and a few drops of detergent. Don’t forget about a towel for drying of course.
Crafts for the people they miss
With no cuddles from the grandparents or friends, you can imagine that it’s not a nice feeling after a few weeks. In order to keep the connection you can ask them to create a card, drawing or craft for their loved ones and bring it to the mailbox. Tip: ask your family members or friends to video call you when they receive it, your kid will most likely be proud of the work they’ve put in.
Obviously, we don’t want to ignore the maximum screen-time for kids, but there are loads of fun digital learning platforms where children can be educated in a fun way. First of all, create a learning space. Use this space for learning only, a place where they can concentrate. This could be a small desk/table, or the same spot on the dining table. This can also be the place where they can do schoolwork. Here are some websites that offer digital learning games:
Travel the world, virtually
With Google Earth for Chrome, you can fly anywhere in seconds and explore hundreds of 3D cities from your browser. Let your child be adventurous and discover something new, they can take a tour with Voyager and create their own maps and stories.
Order a new Toy
You don’t have to shower your kids with gifts, but something new is always interesting. It can be a game, new colouring materials or a book. We bought a tipi tent, filled them with stuffed animals which resulted in hours of fun and imagination! This may buy you some time for, let’s say, a few days!
Build a house!
Build a what? We mean a dollhouse, a house for children, whatever you want to call it, this is fun! Use cardboard and paint/cut a house which they can then paint. When it’s dry they can use it to play with.
Stay fit is one of the things doctors and professionals advise us during lockdown. Try to involve your kids! (My little boy now knows what a Downward Facing Dog is). Plus, exercises can help kids to release their energy plus you can get your workout done. Be the trainer yourself or use YouTube for a training session. This can be fun!
All in all, we hope the above shown examples can make it a little easier to get though the days of lockdown. Good luck, you can do it!