Holidays coming on top of an extended period with the children staying home from school due to the COVID-19 virus may be stretching the patience and imagination of many parents.
We’ve put together some ideas and tips, thanks to teacher and parent Casey Skupin, to help families get through these days with everyone’s sanity intact and children involved in (mostly) productive and creative pursuits.
Tips for parents
- Keep a routine of regular activities in the mornings and evenings, where children can help themselves and contribute to the family. This should include things like making their bed, getting dressed and cleaning teeth after a meal.
- Allow time for your child to play on their own and/or with siblings.
- Spend time playing with your children
- The whole day does not have to be set out for them – allow flexibility for activities to take shorter/longer than expected.
- Try not to have too many expectations. Some things will work, some things will not be as smooth as you want.
- Kids love accomplishing something – no matter how frustrated you get – try to remain encouraging and positive. Give them opportunities to achieve.
- Plan activities that involve a lot of concentration in the morning.
- Try to limit screen time.
The list of possible activities to get children engaged is almost endless. Let your imagination, and your children’s imagination, run wild, but here are a few things to think about.
Keep active. Go for a walk with your family, ride your bike or scooter or look for online videos promoting healthy activity.
Read books. This is important for children of all ages. Read together with young ones, and encourage older kids to keep reading.
Have kids help with chores or meal preparation. This can be tailored to their age and capabilities.
Get creative with play. This could include building imaginary world with toys, making things from recycled materials or using natural objects for art and craft projects.
Spend time with your family. Games, watching movies, quizzes or just quiet time together.
Stay connected. Use your time to communicate with friends/family you are separated from. Via email/letter/phone call/video call.
In early childhood (3-5 year olds) a typical day should include a mix of:
- Self-directed play
- Space for creativity
- Attention from parents – they learn by just playing with parents
- Inside and outside time
- Quiet/rest time
- Involvement in chores
This mix applies for all ages, but as children get older they will naturally spend more time playing independently from parents, and take on more responsibility for helping around the home and doing things for themselves. This is all part of the learning process.
See our daily timetables full of suggestions to structure your days and links to useful activities:
Enjoy this time together. This could be a great time for people to reprioritise, for families to reconnect and for the Earth to recover.