Helping Kids Thrive During Lockdown
Posted on September 07 2021
We recently offered suggestions about changes you could make to ‘love your home’ during lockdown. Lockdown is tough on everyone, but kids especially. We already suggested that you might rearrange the kids’ furniture, but we have more ideas from a seasoned lockdown mother of four, that are specific to helping kids (and their parents) thrive and enjoy their extended time at home.
Ideas for younger kids
- Wherever the toys and books are stored, either a playroom or bedroom, rotate them around. Bring things down from top shelves or face some books out. Just putting the same toys in different containers can make a big difference.
- Bring out the toys that allow for open-ended play like dress-ups, pretend shops or cooking. If you don’t have any of these, take a deep breath, and let the kids loose in the kitchen cupboards or your wardrobe. Girls especially will spend a solid half hour trying on all of mum’s jewelry.
- Create a craft zone. Gather all the gluesticks, textas, paints, paper, pipe-cleaners, glitter and stickers you can find and put them all in the one space. An old set of drawers would work perfectly to hold everything. You might use an old sheet to protect flooring.
- Think about using spaces in new ways. Can you put a small desk somewhere for doing jigsaw puzzles? By using a small rug, towel or scarf in the corner of a room you can create a ‘zone’ for blocks, reading or yoga. On rainy days, move the car out of the garage and let the kids do chalk drawings somewhere dry. On dry days, chalk can be used to turn the driveway into a race track, obstacle course or traffic school.
- The grocery store is one of the few places you can walk into at the moment, but there are some great things in there for ‘edu-taining’ (education through entertainment) kids. One packet of balloons is likely to entertain kids for way longer than you’d expect. Thanks to Bluey they all know ‘keepy-uppy’. Playdough or slime will fill a few hours and all ingredients to make your own can be bought at the grocery store. Paper plates can be masks or dream catchers, wooden pegs and tissue paper can be butterflies and bicarb and vinegar can be used for science experiments.
- Pro tip: In the evening make sure the living room is tidy, then when the kids are asleep choose an activity or toy and leave it in the middle of the room in a cardboard box. Kids’ curiosity will draw them to see what is in the box and before they know it you’ve had half an hour to eat your breakfast in peace and quiet. This works really well with construction toys like magnet tiles or Lego.
Families with older kids
- Everyone needs routine and structure to their day, a reason to get up in the morning. You might write out a daily or weekly schedule. Make sure you have some fun things on the schedule, like take away night, when you’re making cookies or sundaes, games nights or zoom calls to grandparents, cousins or friends.
- Make sure your older kids have chores around the house. They will whinge and complain, but ultimately they will gain a great sense of accomplishment by contributing to a tidy, peaceful home. If they really kick up a stink, try offering to pay them, or letting them ‘earn’ their choice of meal.
- By now teenagers are completely over ‘going for a walk’. Try to create a purpose to your kids’ outdoor time. It could be as simple as keeping a record of distance or time and trying to reach a goal. Or you could investigate if your area has a street library or any geocaches. You might even challenge yourselves by ditching your car for a week and seeing if you can get by only using your bikes.
- Instead of having a family movie night, set everyone in the family a challenge to find the funniest clip on the internet. Then have a family laugh-fest as you each show the clips you found.