Thanks to the Coronavirus or COVID-19, times have changed dramatically in a very short space of time. Most families aren’t used to spending a lot of time together, especially confined to the home. So I figured I would use my knowledge from years of taking care of my children and grandchildren to create a family survival guide in lockdown that will hopefully help you and your family get through it more easily.
In the main babies don’t care as long as their routine is mostly the same. If they are used to going to a nursery or childminder while you work it could take a few days for them to adapt but as long as parent/parents are there they will be fine in their home surroundings with familiar toys.
They will enjoy the extra attention.
Be sure to get out of the house for a walk, it’s a change of scenery with fresh air and exercise to recharge the batteries. Babies like variety and a change of scenery just like we do.
Babies love to be read to. The earlier you start reading to them, the better it is.
Toddlers and upwards
Take walks and plan it out in advance, try to vary it each day. Decide where to go for the walk and make a list of things for them to look out for and mark off their list. It teaches them to be observant and look at the bigger picture.
If you have some old trays, take a bag with you to collect moss and small bits and pieces, like twigs and interesting small stones, leaves etc, to make a moss garden on your return home. Give them a piece of tin foil each to look like water.
Even quite young children can do painting, coming up to 2 years and over.
I bought have always bought these paints from Amazon and elsewhere for my my children and all my grandchildren at that age. Last year was for the youngest ones, handy for rainy days too.
They just squeeze and brush to create their pictures. The youngest will need to be supervised as to start with they will have a tendency to squeeze too hard, which results in blobs of paint with the occasional lake if you aren’t quick enough.
Saves a lot of mess and there’s no water to knock over. A roll of lining wallpaper is very handy. Endless paper, can be rolled out over a washable floor and once the paint is dry can be rolled up again or the used piece cut off and rolled up. The painted paper makes great gift wrapping too. My daughter uses it, a good way to recycle too. The bonus is that it can go in the recycle bin unlike the usual wrapping paper.
You can also buy rolls of brown paper and seasonal stamps and encourage them to create Christmas wrapping paper.
Encourage reading in older children and read to younger ones. Its good to read slowly then ask them to find various things on each page, such as a fish, butterfly, rabbit or whatever else is on the page. At first ask them to see one item then gradually increase it to more. It makes them more observant and encourages them to look at the whole picture, rather than just focusing on whatever its about and notice lots of small details. It can also carry over into life in general, such as when you go out, they will start noticing so much that they didn’t before.
There are of course jigsaw puzzles for every age and ability.
These are a set of 6 educational wooden childrens puzzles recommended for 1 year upwards
There are websites where you can do puzzles online. This is a FREE one and it caters for different ages. Go HERE!
Of course there are many puzzles available, Rubiks Cubes are still about, there are metal brain teasers, wooden ones that slot together
There are plenty of resources on social media, I have seen sellers offering free packs of downloads for various age groups. Google it to find whats out there for your children’s age groups.
This is a link to a website offering free packs for young children: Activity Village.co.uk
Lots of free downloadables here too: Early Years Resources
There are Facebook groups springing up in local areas for parents to exchange ideas on ways to occupy their children. If you can’t find one, wny not start one yourself? One in my local area had 160,000 join in a week.
There is also a Facebook page in my local area where people can offer goods they no longer need for free to others. Selling is not permitted as it was started to recycle more things and save perfectly good stuff from going into landfill. Worthwhile checking out what’s in your area.
On You Tube, Joe Wicks is doing a PE class for children and adults each morning for 30 minutes, many teachers have been recommending it for their pupils during the lockdown. GO HERE
Children generally love being creative, mainly because they love being messy. Though you can just give them old magazines, catalogues etc to cut and tear up. Plain paper and a glue stick will keep them happy for ages, sticking pictures/bits of paper to make a picture.
If you buy a pack of blank cards with envelopes, they can make cards to give to others. Send them to Aunts, Uncles, grandparents and friends for birthdays etc. You could even plan ahead a get them making Christmas cards for their friends. Keeps them busy and saves you having to get some.
Older children can have a go at knitting and crochet. All mine, children and grandchildren, went through a phase of wanting to learn both of those from about 4 years old for some, a bit older for others. Don’t know how to knit yourself? Look on you tube.
There’s a few ideas for you to be going on with. Hopefully some ideas you haven’t thought of yet.
Whatever happens know that you are doing a great job. The time is into the 8th week here, which is longer than the summer holidays. At least you can usually take them out and about in the holidays, drop them off with grandparents for a day or a few hours, maybe if you are lucky, even a few days.
This time you have had to do it alone, shut indoors mainly,. Being teacher to the school age and nursery teacher to younger ones, even babies.
There will have been arguments, tantrums, exhaustion and despair that it will never end. Probably sleepless nights and tears along with a deep longing to have just 10 minutes all by yourself.
But on the flip side you will have laughed more together, had fun, learned to relax and enjoy each others company. You will have learned to be resourceful and creative with finding things to do and with food …. the never ending food preparation and cooking.
You will also very likely have learned that you don’t have to entertain your children every minute of the day. That it’s okay for them to be bored, in fact it’s actually good for them, makes them more resourceful. If mine said they were bored I would offer them a job or two to do. Strangely they weren’t bored anymore. Odd that!
Child having a tantrum, join them, it’s quite therapeutic. Either that or laugh even if you have to force it, they often stop and ask why you are laughing. Don’t say you are laughing AT them, say you thought they were making you laugh on purpose with the funny faces they were pulling. Get out a mirror and pull funny faces together and laugh together.
The main thing is that you are doing a brilliant job, so pat yourself on the back, look in the mirror and smile, because it’s true.
Thank you for visiting and reading, I hope you enjoyed it, if so please share.
Comments and questions welcome.