Activities To Do at Home With The Children During the Coronavirus Lockdown
The recent school closures and lockdown due to the Coronavirus pandemic have really hit hard for parents all over the world. We understand how difficult it can be to juggle parenting, housework, taking on teaching responsibilities and managing your finances all at once. That’s why we spoke to education specialist and former Headteacher, Paula Moses, who has worked with primary aged children for the last fifteen years to find out what she thinks is the best way to occupy your children during lockdown.
‘What advice do you have for parents who are currently under lockdown with their children?’
“If you’re at home with children over this period of isolation you may be juggling a range of emotions as well as juggling all your normal work (now online), looking after other family members and managing a home. It’s likely that you’ll have questions such as ‘Should I recreate school at home? Is it OK if I don’t? Do I know how to teach? What if I don’t understand what they are learning? Why do I have to teach!!!’
This is completely natural and a brief look on social media will tell you that you are not alone in these thoughts. The first thing I would say is that you don’t have to become a teacher or put extra pressure on yourself with targets for learning. My advice would be to trust your instincts, as you know your children best of all. Ask yourself what you would do in an ideal world and work back from there. If your child loves doing school work and the familiarity of a worksheet is helping them to feel more secure – then go for it! If your child is a budding artist – give them this space to create…painting, drawing, singing, dancing, performing… It doesn’t have to be messy but it might be noisy! If your child is very physical then they can join in with the daily PE lesson being held by Joe Wicks on You Tube.”
If you feel you want some structure to your day, there is no need to establish a strict routine but you may find that agreeing on a rhythm instead of a timed routine works well. For example, always get up and get dressed in the morning then follow this flow: Refreshment (eat or drink), Activity, Downtime, Refreshment (eat or drink), Activity, Downtime etc. The different elements could be 20 minutes or two hours long depending on the child/children, other demands on your household and any specific educational requirements from your child’s school.
‘How can parents manage the stress of the COVID-19 lockdown?’
“If you are feeling overwhelmed then remember to factor in some downtime for yourself, every couple of hours, stay hydrated, rested and have a break from the media. You can’t look after everyone else if you are frazzled!
On a more practical level, maybe some of your older children could take on some of the more physical tasks at home for extra pocket money. Perhaps write down a list of jobs that need doing as part of the family (unpaid) and some extra jobs that they can do for extra money.
As a freelancer I am currently not earning so I have had to be very open with my older children about cash flow (and lack of it) – but I have lots of jobs to do around home that I never get round to that I must admit that I am resorting to a bit of financial bribery and am certainly not going to spend my isolation running around after my children while they sit at their computers doing ‘homework’!”
Getting some fresh air will also do both you and your children the world of good. The new government rules state that you and your family can go outside once a day for some kind of physical exercise.
How important is it to homeschool your child during lockdown?
“I would say that the most important thing for any child (even if they don’t admit it) is that they just want to be listened to and they want time with you. The old adage that the small child prefers the cardboard box over the present inside holds true at the moment – children don’t need you to become a schoolteacher or disciplinarian – they just love hanging out with you. Children are good at being useful if you make it fun and not stressful – toddlers can help you match socks, eight-year olds can sort the washing and teenagers can learn to cook.
Most importantly, children normally love to talk, and normal life often means that we don’t always get the chance to listen to each other properly. Take the time to talk with your children and listen to them, ask them what they think and make time to listen to the answers. Let your imagination run wild – Would you rather have legs for arms or arms for legs? Should everyone look the same? Would it be good or bad to have birthdays every day? Are we the same person to the one we were, when we were born? Are we friends with our pets? What is a stranger? What if we all lived forever, would we live differently? Would you rather have a bath of baked beans or scrambled egg? Why?
Have fun with your child. And instead of seeing the next few weeks or months as a daunting experience, enjoy it! You’ll thank yourself for it, and you can be sure your children will be thankful too.”
We hope this article has been helpful in giving you some useful tips about keeping your child occupied at home with fun activities for the family during lockdown. For more inspiration and ideas head over to the Permanent Education website.