“Hope is important because it can make the present moment less difficult to bear. If we believe that tomorrow will be better, we can bear a hardship today.”– ThichNhat Hanh
We’re more than a month in with at least another TWO to go, so how’s lockdown going with you and the kids? Home-schooling and WFH for many of us, as in ALL of us, is a pretty daunting reality. Keeping children busy and happy – and making sure they’re not plonked in front of a screen too much – seems like a big task.
However, there’s a load of stuff – educational and fun – that you can plan into their day. But before we get to the list it’s good to have a structure. Divide the day up into a timetable and stick it on the fridge so that everyone can see it. Have time set out for educational tasks and break it up with fun activities (and actual breaks!) to keep your kids engaged and happy. And one other tip – don’t stress about filling every moment of their day. It’s okay to have periods of time where they find their own things to do, on with the activity ideas.
For the toddlers
1. Playing with pots, pans and wooden spoons – encourage them to make as much noise as they can! (You might want to wear earplugs)
2. Water painting the balcony/garden– just get a pot of water, some paintbrushes and (assuming it’s a dry day) let them paint!
3. Listen to music …or get moving with some fun dance moves.
4. Cooking is a fun way to bond, builds your child’s confidence, and helps her develop a healthy attitude towards food.
5. Puzzles, Toddlers take great delight in the challenge of puzzles and learn shapes and colours along the way. You can easily make puzzles at home using pictures and colouring pages. Paste them on a stiff paper and cut them in different shapes. There are plenty of options online too.
6. Reading books together, Reading to your baby helps build vocabulary, stimulates imagination, and improves communication skills. It introduces her to the concepts of stories, numbers, letters, colours, and shapes, and gives her information about the world around her.
For ages 3-5
1. Create a back garden (or indoor) scavenger hunt – make a list of things that you have in your garden (or hide some things!). For smaller ones, you can search online for ready-made lists with pictures.
2. Download some free colouring printables – you can Google for and get these on pretty much any theme. Disney! Dinosaur! Space! You name it…
3. Indoor sports and games -You don’t have to go outside to teach your toddler games like cricket, badminton, bowling, football, mini-golf, mini-basketball, and so on.
4. Household chores are a great way to teach responsibility. In the early years though, the real value is not so much getting things done around the house as it is instilling the helping habit.
5. Building blocks- Building structures out of blocks is a great workout for your child’s growing body and brain, as it requires physical skill, planning and organising.
A little TV or other screen time is fine as long as your child is watching age-appropriate, high-quality shows along with an adult. Draft guidelines that include how much screen time is allowed, when (and where) screens can be used, and what kinds of media are acceptable. Working on a family plan is a good opportunity to define your family’s values and discuss how people can be good digital citizens.
Used positively, technology can be wonderful. For one, video chat apps help you connect with grandparents, friends and family. It’s an excellent way to get together as a group from your homes.