Working at home with kids Survival kit.
Hi parent, teacher, cook, cleaner, taxi driver (thankfully that role has reduced a bit for now), maybe spouse and likely worker or business owner,
You are doing a lot. And you probably feel like you’re not doing any of it really well. Or maybe you do. Either way, you’re my heroes.
I have heard countless stories of the balancing act between setting up zoom calls, wondering what to do with the kids, the days feeling super long.
The uncertainty. The confusion. The anger. Sadness. Undoubtably mixed emotions.
In a world where things have changed so much in such little time. And as they say it probably won’t ever go back to normal.
What is normal anyway right? That’s the setting on a dryer. It’s like an elastic band that’s been stretched, it never goes back to its original shape.
I’m sure that there has been more than enough talk about the pandemic that everyone has been facing so lets not add to that. We are here to try and help in any way we can and focus on solutions for those parents that need some ideas during this time.
Here’s a few activities and ideas for those bored and stuck inside days.
Tip #1 Have a plan at the start of the week
On a Sunday (or any day that works really but I find a Sunday night means it’s fresh in my mind ready for Monday) write down the plan for the week as a “first draft.” Don’t do what I do and put too many things on the list or it does lead to overwhelm. The magic number for each day is 3 tasks. If you get more done, bonus.
This enables you to plan ahead and for the kids to be able to see what is coming up, where everyone is and what everyone is meant to be doing during that day. Maybe using a board or planner everyone can see if you have one is a great idea (if you’re already doing that, you legend!)
This will also allow everyone their own space during their own work times to focus on getting their own tasks completed, allowing for times of creativity too. This includes having planned break times! Actually stopping. I know right?!
We all need breaks, children and adults alike. We can’t work non-stop with no breaks. We’re not robots, and even they stop so that they don’t burn out. Having morning tea and lunch prepared first thing in the morning will allow you to quickly dish it up and not waste any time throughout the day. This will also stop the “mum what’s for recess/ lunch” question too.. yet another bonus!
Tip #2 Stay active
- We all know regular physical activity is an important part of getting and staying healthy. With the decrease in opportunity to play outdoors and be active with friends, we need to be intentional with programming in active activities. As we know physical activity is beneficial to:
- healthy growth and development
- build strong bones and muscles
- improve balance and develop skills
- maintain and develop flexibility
- achieve and maintain a healthy weight
- improve cardiovascular fitness
- reduce stress and feel more relaxed
- improve posture
- boost confidence and self-esteem
Although we are stuck indoors we can still be active. What is an activity you can do when the weather is like this you might ask? Give these a try one afternoon:
– Dance party
Music is always a pick me up when you’re feeling down! Nothing like some of the good ol’ 90’s to get you back in the mood.
– Indoor obstacle course
–Walking around the block, increasing the distance all the time
-Jumping on the trampoline (if you have one)
This is something I have seen more often even walking around my own neighbourhood lately. A lot of parents jumping with their kids. Brings such joy to my heart
– If you are trying to get them to calm down Andy’s Coming is great. Often they will know how to play. Simple rules are someone (Andy) goes out of the room, everyone else are toys moving until he decides to come back in the room and then they have to be silent and not move. They seem to really enjoy it. Contact us for full instructions.
– Just Dance/Join Rockstar Lauren on a Thursday afternoon teaching the kids a dance routine, or follow us around on Youtube as we do 0-5’s “Adventures with Rockstar Lauren” at 11am.
-Wii fit/wii tennis
When the weather is better you can get their adventurous side exploring outdoors to see what animals they can find and find out some fun facts together about these, whether they be worms, lady bugs, butterflies or other little creatures…. Start a worm farm or build your own ant farm…. the choices are endless.
Tip #3 Shake things up a bit!
Pots and pans can be musical instruments. Dress-ups can mean a show. Boxes can be used to create a puppet theatre or a fort.
What have you got on hand that the children can use with their creative imaginations? Children have the great ability to turn the ordinary and make it extraordinary so let them explore and create to their hearts content.
Sometimes some of the biggest lessons are learnt doing activities they’ve never done. Let them use this time to explore different ways of learning.
It is important to break things up and make things as interesting as possible not only for yourself to keep from getting bored but the children as well. Mixing things up and putting some art activities on or even having some music playing in the background that you all agree on or doing some cooking or baking are just a some things that come to mind.
Idea: Market Day Store: Children can build their own little market stalls to swap what they’ve made.
Most of all HAVE FUN!!!!!! They say the days are long and the years are short so make the most of it while you still have them. Time goes so quickly, embrace every moment. The hard times to grow, and the happy times to smile and remind yourself of what makes life grand – the funny memories. You are doing an incredible job, just remember this too shall pass.
What they need more than ever is to feel comforted and loved. To feel like it’s all going to be ok. That might mean that you forget the schedules and plans and love on your kids a bit more.
As one teacher has said circulating that I have changed slightly.. “Play outside and go on walks. Bake cookies and paint pictures. Create a little play or do a Rockstar performance. Play board games and watch movies. Do a science experiment together or find virtual field trips of the zoo. Check out Youtube together of rides. Start a book and read together as a family. Snuggle under warm blankets and do nothing. Whatever it looks like for your family.”
So many teachers have been doing such a great job moving everything online, but be patient as its unchartered territory for everyone as we find a new normal. Make sure you leave room for questions and be ready to listen. Have a schedule that everyone is on board with, but make it flexible/fluid.
It’s important to check in with your children and see how they’re going not only with their school work but also emotionally. This time of change is massive for most of them not being able to hang out with their friends every day during recess and lunch times.
Check in and ask how they are and remind them that if they’re upset that it’s ok and that they can always talk to you about how they’re feeling. Remember that you are their safe place and sometimes we will see different behaviour in the children for this same reason.
Everyone is doing their part at the moment whether it be working from home or going to work as an essential worker, both are just as important as the other. During this time it’s important to do our part and keep ourselves and our loved ones safe.
For many this means reaching out and doing aged care visits from afar, this can mean sending just one person to the shops to pick up the essentials and giving them all the known protection available to them or it could simply mean setting up zoom and FaceTime calls with friends and family to check in with how they are.
During this time, your mental health is so important to keep a check on, so if you’re struggling don’t be afraid to reach out to a friend or family member or you can ring a phone counsellor and just have a chat.
Remember we’re all in this together! Remember to celebrate the small things during this time. We all just need to focus on what we can do, and take one step at a time. You’ve got this!