How to Keep Your Kids Happy, Healthy and Entertained During Lockdown
We are writing this in April 2020. It is a deeply unsettling time (to say the least) as we remain locked down in our homes to try to stop the spread of the Coronavirus pandemic.
If we as adults find it scary, just think how overwhelming it must be for our little people. They overhear our frightened whispers, hear snippets of information on the radio which they don’t quite understand, and are confused as to when they might see their friends again. Not being able to enjoy the familiar routine of school, not seeing their grandparents/extended family, and having to stay within the confines of the home can all contribute to feelings of fear, anger and confusion.
So how do we help them? How do we keep our kids happy, healthy and entertained during the lockdown?
Here at My Name Label we always strive to help busy parents so we thought we would share a few great ideas to keep your kids happy whilst staying safe at home. We know that the coming weeks will no doubt be testing the ingenuity (and sanity!) of parents all over the nation so hope that our suggestions come in useful.
Home-Schooling Ideas During Lockdown
You suddenly find yourself in a lockdown situation and, as well as being a full-time parent/cook/cleaner/gardener/counsellor/housekeeper, you are also expected to become a teacher. And all this whilst trying to have Zoom meetings with your colleagues and running the office with all the craziness of homelife going on around you. No wonder many of us are feeling fraught, overwhelmed and frazzled!!
Firstly, this is not home-schooling. This is an unprecedented emergency situation impacting the whole world so it’s important to keep perspective. This is, at best, distance learning. We are all learning as we go. You are, and always have been, your child's primary educator. If you decide that your child isn't going to engage with anything sent home and is going to spend the entire period playing in the dirt, or baking, or watching TV, then that is your choice. That is your right. There is nothing to stress or feel guilty about.
Our first rule of home-schooling: if it’s causing you stress and anxiety, just don’t do it. That’s right - it’s time to give yourself a break. You can’t possibly be ALL the things ALL the time so don’t stress about making your kids sit down at a desk for hours. Fighting with them over doing homework will only add to the frustration and stress felt in the house. It will make for unhappy kids, and an unhappy you. Don’t bow down to peer pressure, only do what you can do!
That said, if your kids love colouring, are eager to do some of their own creative writing or feel grounded by solving maths puzzles then by all means yes - encourage them and nurture that natural thirst for knowledge. Some children thrive off routine so having an hour set aside each morning for dipping their toe into schoolwork gives them a sense of normality and helps them to feel safe. Lots of schools have even set up online classrooms where they can connect with their school friends and speak to their teacher if they need to, which offers a great online support network.
If you're not a teacher by trade, give yourself some realistic goals - trying to conquer the whole curriculum is probably going to make you and your child anxious (especially if you're juggling your work and this new teaching role). Prioritise the core curriculum - Maths and English.
We are firm believers that your best is more than enough.
Here are some good educational ideas to try with your kids, and which we hope offer you some relief from ‘homeschool guilt’!
- A bit of reading every day (independently, or to them or via audiobook etc.)
- Some free writing now and then. If they'll keep a diary or something, great. If not, would they draw a comic?
- Practical hands-on maths. Be that via cooking, cleaning, outside or some maths games, physical or digital.
- Some fine motor work: Lego, cutting, playdough, tidying up small toys etc
- Physical exercise every day. Don’t skip on this.
- Some art/music where possible through the week (doesn't need to be guided)
- Helping you with baking has so much opportunity for science!
- If your child is old enough, try getting them to independently work on a project. This is great for keeping brains ticking over. Get them researching in a book or online and putting together something to present to you or family.
- If younger, lots of imaginative free play, the more independent the better.
If you want some good online resources for homeschooling during the lockdown, we can highly recommend these (not affiliated in any way, just enjoying using them ourselves!):
- Twinkl is an amazing online resource for homeschooling sheets based on child’s year. They even offer free access for parents during this time which is incredible.
- BBC Bitesize is a great place for online learning games all sorted by age and curriculum. There are really interesting online learning videos too which kids love and can really get stuck into to make learning more fun.
- Teach Your Monster to Read is an award-winning set of games which has helped millions of children to read by encouraging them to know and recognise phonics.
- Phonics Play is another great place to get your little ones enjoying the sounds which they need to learn language. (Just like Twinkl, Phonics Play have also made their online games free during this time which is great)
You are doing enough. You are loving your children and supporting them through a difficult time. Don't let this be something that stresses you - you are the primary educator and this is all your call! Look after yourself. Minimising stress is absolutely vital in a time like this for your mental health.
Healthy Body, Healthy Mind
Getting your kids up and moving every day is crucial. All of us need to let off steam, and exercise is a vital component of any child's development. Exercise lays the foundations for a healthy life. Helping our kids to love movement sets them up to be stronger and healthier teens and adults. Especially in this lockdown situation, getting your kids to move and expel excess energy can improve their behaviour and make them feel more settled because physical activity can change brain chemistry and improve frame of mind. Exercise has been shown to increase levels of serotonin, which can contribute to reduced feelings of depression. Fun, physical activities and mental stimulation with family in a supportive environment can give children the sense that they've achieved something new and challenging. They feel better. They feel happy. And as a result so will you.
If you don’t have a garden or outside space, there are lots of places online that can help you in some guided exercise or yoga. And even if you do have outside space, we love these following online resources for kids fitness and have found that it has become part of our new daily ritual! We hope you enjoy them too…
- PE with Joe Wicks Every Monday-Friday at 9am you can join hundreds of thousands of other children all across the world as they lunge, starjump and stretch their way to fitness with body coach Joe Wicks. The workouts are fun and aimed at kids, but adults have been loving them too.
- Cosmic Kids Yoga is yoga for kids like you've never seen before. Jaime's aim is to bring yoga and mindfulness to kids all over the world via compelling and fun yoga workouts. The adventures put the kids at the heart of a fun story – as the heroes – acting it out with yoga poses to keep them fascinated.
- GoNoodle engages 14 million kids every month with movement and mindfulness videos created by child development experts. It’s very catchy and you’ll find yourself singing along to the songs before you know it. Kids love it and it encourages healthy movement and body positivity.
We hope that this has proved helpful to you. Please share some of the things you’ve been doing by connecting with our community over on Facebook and Instagram too; staying connected is the best thing we can do right now.
My Name Label is a small business that has always been operated from home. No big factory. Everything made in Cornwall by a small but efficient team. We are lucky because the Coronavirus has not impacted our ability to continue delivering the same reliable service we always have. In fact, we have started making some new labels reminding people to wash their hands which we are including for FREE with all orders. A simple way we can help our customers and their families at this unsettling time.
We hope that you find these labels useful as you order up your school name labels ready for the new school year. Don’t be late ordering as we’re expecting a HUGE rush as soon as the lockdown ends!
Thanks for your support, MNL xx