Discover our tips to channel your kids’ energy when you’re all at home in isolation.
1. FaceTime with the family
Make the most of your phone – and it doesn’t just have to be a chat, because we know how quickly little ones can get bored. Rope in a granny, an uncle or a sister-in-law to entertain your kids for ten minutes.
Grandparents can do story time, maybe you’ve got the same book so they can both turn the pages at the same time. Or, they can just make a story up.
Try playing ‘can you find me?’ You ask for something red, or something that’s round and your children hunt around the place to find it. Keep score, then declare a winner (or all of them can be winners – we need to keep disputes to a minimum!).
2. Make some playdough
It’s so easy, and you might well have all the ingredients already. https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/howto/guide/playdough-recipe
Older children will like making and mixing the different colours. The younger ones will love playing with the results.
3. Build a den
Gather all the den building equipment from around your house – we’re talking duvets, pillows, blankets – the whole lot! Maybe you’ve got some old cardboard boxes? The more imaginative the better!
4. Have a film session
Don’t be afraid to turn on the telly (or tablet). Grab your duvet, dim the lights and choose a film. Eat your lunch or tea while you watch. BBC iPlayer and All 4 have got some great films online.
5. An exercise class
Yes you heard us right. Get your kids to burn some energy and put them in charge of hosting an exercise class for the family – we’re thinking star jumps, hopping and balancing on one foot for the younger ones, older children can pull out some more advanced moves. YouTube will be able to show you ideas that are a good fit for your childrens’ ages, including a PE lesson every morning at 9 am with Joe Wicks (The Body Coach).
6. Have a routine
Get it sorted out, scribbled on a piece of paper and stuck on the wall so everyone knows what’s coming. It can be comforting to have structure, like school, rather than the days merging in to one.
Add on when meal times will be and when you’re going to be doing different activities. You can also include 30 mins of cleaning time each day when everyone in the family pitches in to help out. Pop things like their favourite programme on the list too and if you’ve got one of their favourite foods for tea, jot that down as well!
7. Cut everyone some slack
Let’s be realistic, even your best mate would get on your nerves after a few days of 24/7 contact. So let the little things go. Yep, this is the time when no one mentions the toilet seat being up, the wet towels on the floor, or someone snapping when they’re asked to do something. Things are tense. Let them slide.
8. Spend some time apart
Try and get an hour of alone time a day. Maybe it’s in little chunks, 20 minutes here, 10 minutes there, but try and get 60 minutes. And spend that time doing something you like – not chores!
9. Do something that makes you happy every day
Have something to look forward to. Maybe it’s a bath, maybe it’s a hot chocolate, maybe it’s scrolling through your phone for the ten minutes when your mum is talking to the kids. Whatever it is, make sure everyone does something that makes them happy no matter how small, every day.
10. Let the telly take the strain.
No, you’re not a bad parent! Yes, everyone does it! These are unprecedented times. Don’t be afraid of using the TV to help when it’s really needed and you just need a rest.
Have you got any top tips for entertaining your children at home? Let us know below or on our Facebook page.
We love this idea by Gale Tremble-Wilson of a ‘Home Safari’. She and her daughter chose some of her stuffed animal toys to hide around the house, which they then took it in turns to find. They wrote them down on a list and ticked them off as they went. She said:
“She loved it so much we did it again the next day. It was made even more fun by dressing up for the Safari!”