Hello my lovelies,
The Coronavirus has most people in England glued to their telly sets, waiting for news of when the school will close, or if indeed they will close. Most companies are have already told staff to work from home, and others are preparing for staff work from home scenarios. I can’t see that it will be long before the schools shut in the UK. For those in other countries who have already had lock downs or those in the UK who are choosing to isolate your families regardless of the current advice, the next big issue becomes how do we entertain and educate our children during the lock down?
I have spent the last week taking inventory of our food supplies and anxiety cleaning but this morning, after reading a beautiful post in one of my Hygge groups on Facebook my focus shifted entirely. I began to wonder how my daughter must be considering and dealing with the current levels of anxiety and disruption in our community. I’ll post the passage below so you can see what I mean.
”Mama, remember when we were little and we had to stay home for a month because of that virus? It’s actually one of my fondest childhood memories. It was so awesome being home together.
Remember how we would check on the neighbors and drop food and supplies off on people’s porches? I remember listening to you and daddy on the phone calling family, friends, and people from work and asking how they were and if they needed anything- it was different because usually we just saw you text them.
Remember how we didn’t use the cars and you and daddy had to start them up every now and then to make sure they still ran? We normally had a long ride to school and it was so nice to have a break from that. Remember how we had to conserve toilet paper- what was up with that?
I remember you didn’t turn on the TV much during that time. We read so many books and listened to podcasts while we knitted. I remember daddy read us the Harry Potter books while we snuggled under blankets together. He did all the crazy voices- to this day, it’s one of the reasons I love reading so much.
You and daddy told us that we needed to stay home because lots of people were getting sick. You shared with us every now and then that people were getting better and less people were getting sick. It was sad not see our friends so much and go to fun places, but you explained that we were helping the hospitals. By staying home we were letting the hospitals care for the people who really needed their help. I do remember we had to wash our hands a lot and that’s when I finally stopped biting my fingernails.
I remember you and daddy working from home on your laptops while we did our school lessons. And we would take breaks to drink tea and have snacks on the porch in the sunshine. You and daddy would make us warm lunches and we would all eat together. I remember baking bread with you and you would teach us yoga in the attic. I remember all the art projects we did and how you displayed them all over the house. I remember you gave us bubble baths whenever we wanted.
I remember we would take walks in the woods and if you saw other people you would whisper to us “stay 6 feet away”…honestly, that was kind of creepy.
I remember Dewey and Dora, our Welsh Terriers, they were kind of old and we got to cuddle them so much those days- they loved having us home more than anything, didn’t they?
I remember later that year you and daddy were so happy about the election of the president. I had never seen you jump up and down in front of the tv like that. I remember you guys cried and daddy grabbed your hand and made you dance.
Was this a scary time for you and daddy? I don’t remember it that way at all.”
I released after reading this that I had two choices. Once our family has locked down, I had the power to make or break the experience for us. Yes, the situation is dire because of a global pandemic but it’s up to me to make this time bearable for my 9 year old daughter. I decided to focus on the positive and make this a time of togetherness and cosyness and general positivity. That’s not to say that everything will be all roses and that we won’t get on each other’s nerves but I think trying to keep us engaged and occupied will go a long way to making this time easier for everyone.
Emotional well being for our kids
Before I get into the fun and educational activity ideas, here are so general guidelines to maintaining a more positive atmosphere.
- Watch the news when the kids have gone to bed or catch up online, if you must.
- Don’t talk about the virus and your fears surrounding it in front of the kids.
- If your kids ask questions about the virus and what is happening in the world, explain things to them in a matter of fact way, leaving your emotions and fears out of it. Explain to your kids that they can talk to you about their worries about the virus if they need to. There’s a great article in The Guardian that may help you and your family to emotionally prepare.
- Make a point to Facetime and Skype friends and family members often so that kids can see everyone is okay and still interact with those they miss.
And now on to the practicalities.
Without a routine, kids struggle. Heck, adults struggle! Thankfully, I found a great schedule online that I wanted to share with you.
I found this to be a fantastic schedule from Jessica McHale that gives a rough guideline for everything that needs to be done in a day for a family. Of course, you can tweak and readjust this to suit your family.
Most schools, when they close, will provide some sort of online learning which will need to be done and the schedule should allow for this. Other ideas you could incorporate in your schedule to maintain kid’s education are things like learning to type and reading books online.
Typing club allows kids to learn to touch type for free which in this current digital era is a valuable skill. Anyone who has to type up a report using the old two finger method will appreciate how important it is to type adequately.
If you haven’t been able to get to the library and take out some books to keep up with the kids daily reading and don’t have a stack of books at home then Get Epic is for you. It’s the leading digital library for kids 12 and under and offers a 30 day free trial that you can cancel at any time and is free to educators and librarians! Also, if you are a member of Amazon Prime, you will have access to loads of free Kindle books.
For those who enjoy museums, art and culture, Google arts & culture offers you an opportunity to explore in 360 degree virtual tours of museums, parks and national icons from the comfort of your sofa.
Mystery Science is offering free science lessons to anyone who needs them without the need to open an account of pay for services. There are loads of great links there to awesome lessons from reception/kindergarten to Year/Grade 5.
Twinkl a fabulous teaching and home educator website, full of national curriculum resources is offering a free service during the Coronavirus pandemic to assist schools and parents. Sign up for free and use the code UKTWINKLHELPS for free access.
A sedentary change for children who are used to burning off a lot of energy is a recipe for disaster. If the weather is miserable, as it has been recently, here are some great resources for indoor exercise for kids and adults alike.
Cosmic Kids Yoga – Check out the link for great yoga workouts to famous stories like Frozen, Pokemon, the Gruffalo, Sleeping Beauty, Harry Potter and more.
Kidz Bop is so great for kids dance workouts (minus the definitely not age appropriate twerking!) to all the latest dance tracks. Perfect for a dance and a laugh while you get your disco on.
Get out in the garden! Even a small garden can yield loads of fun. Check out Youtube for fun outdoor games or call on old favourites like egg and spoon races (plastic eggs!), sack races, relays, obstacle courses or even just put up the tent and enjoy doing your learning outdoors. Get the fire pit out and toast marshmallows, or cook your lunch.
Dust off the Swingball set, frizbee or get out the cricket set and football. Even 10 minutes outdoors can relieve stress and elevate your mood.
Not very sporty? I got your covered. Go outdoors and explore your garden for signs of spring. If you have a local park or woods get exploring. Just remember to keep a safe distance from anyone else. Don’t feel up to walking? Take your picnic outside and enjoy flasks of soup and sandwiches. You could even feed the birds or wash the car. Give a kid a hand spade and tell them to pull up all the weeds. They’ll enjoy digging and getting messy.
With St Patrick’s day on it’s way in a couple of days, check out Twinkl’s resources for a bit of fun. Or check out Pinterestfor loads of St Patrick’s day crafts. I particularly like this one by theresjustonemommy.com
Use your crafts to decorate the house for St Patrick’s Day.
Plan a fun St Patrick’s day mealusing some of these great ideas on Youtube. Get the kids involved with baking, cooking and decorating for your special meal.
Check out Pinterest for loads of fun ideas for Easter crafts. There’s so much you can do just using stuff you have laying about at home. Let the kids help you decorate for Easter – they love to get involved. This is not the time to be Martha Stewart about your decor! Have fun with Easter recipes and let the kids help. Check out my Easter Freakshake for a sweet treat. Make some cookies and decorate. Baking and cooking help kids with maths skills and teach them essential life skills. Cleaning up is an essential life skill too!
Sick of St Patrick’s day and Easter crafts? Get scrapbooking using all those old magazines in the recycling, journaling, start a gratitude journal, create your own Wreck this Journal, make DIY puffy paint or let the kids make dream boards. There’s so many things to do.
Chores for kids
With the kids home, no doubt, the house will be trashed in no time, however, this is the perfect opportunity to get kids helping around the house. Check out Fun Cheap or Free’s guide to chore charts for some help. Implement 5 minute tidy time after each activity to get kids helping to tidy the mess they’ve made.
Cards and board games
Go completely old school and break out the deck of cards! Forgotten how to play the card games you played as a kid? No problem! Youtube has loads of tutorials to help you.
If you’re anything like me, you’ve hoarded board games hoping your kids will soon be old enough to play them or for those idyllic winter nights when you imagined Swiss Family Robinson like gatherings. Go dust them off and get rolling those dice! This is the perfect opportunity!
I will be honest, right now, I’m out of ideas! But I’m sure you can help me with some cool ideas in the comments.
Stay positive and chat to you soon!