Posted on: 01 May 2020
Here are some tips for parents/caregivers to help your kids stay happy and healthy during lockdown.
Talk to them about what’s happening
Give them age-appropriate information about what’s happening and what it means for you as a family. Help them understand why everyone is taking the virus so seriously, why they can’t see their friends face-to-face, and whether adults in the household will need uninterrupted time to work from home.
If you have two or more children, they can play together - which does take some of the pressure off you to keep them entertained all the time. Children without siblings might feel lonely just now so arrange regular video calls between them and their friends so that they can keep in touch.
If your child is friends with an only child, perhaps make an extra effort to contact this friend regularly so that they don’t feel forgotten.
Your kids may well be getting more screen time than normal, but these are exceptional times so don’t feel too guilty about it. The reality is that sometimes it’s the only way to get some uninterrupted time to work.
However, screen time doesn’t just mean mindless games or TV. There are a number of educational websites they can use – eg. https://mathsframe.co.uk/en/resources/resource/289/KS2-Maths-Invaders Maths Invaders or The Maths Factor https://www.themathsfactor.com/ or English websites where the kids create their own characters and write a story to unlock extra costumes and accessories. https://www.nightzookeeper.com/
Education outside the classroom
This is a good opportunity to teach your children life skills rather than just schoolwork. For example, DIY projects involve measuring, calculating angles, using tools, construction, imagination; baking involves weighing, measuring, reading the recipe, timing, kitchen safety.
Kids can also continue to take part in some of their clubs by using free online resources. For example, virtual martial arts classes; online guitar lessons; or a Cub Scouts virtual campfire where 8000 Cubs joined with their own campfires in their own back garden. Make the most of the time you have and learn new skills together.
It’s a good idea to get the kids outside every day. If you have a garden, get them active by playing football, trampolining, frisbee, throw and catch etc. Now is also a good time to try cycling and learn road safety as there is much less traffic about.
If you don’t have access to a garden, get the kids to join you on a daily walk or run, or make responsible use of local green spaces. Walking the dog is great excuse to get outside and work off some energy.
Appreciate the small things
Yes, it is difficult to manage everything, but let your kids know that you enjoy spending time with them. Never again in our lives (hopefully) will we have a situation like this where families get to spend so much time together and we should find ways to have fun where possible.
With thanks to Sarah Nash, Reward Consultant at Innecto Reward Consulting