Survival tips: living with kids in isolation
No jungle gyms, no play dates, no school or daycare. If you’ve got rugrats at home, chances are you’re looking for things to do to fill in 4 whole weeks in isolation. Here are our top tips to make it through!
Don’t get screentime guilt
Your kids are home for four weeks, school’s out, some of us are working from home at the same time. We’re in exceptional circumstances. Now is probably not the time to worry too much about screen time. Anyway, screens can be educational (and very convenient):
- Numberjacks – the award winning animation series on YouTube that teaches maths
- www.MyStoryBook.com lets kids author and publish books, by drawing, adding text and backgrounds with little parent supervision
- Busy shapes app – problem solving for young kids age 4+
- Jack and the Bean Stalk app – interactive story time for ages 6+
- Toca Band – animated app that lets kids explore music, for kids age 2-9
- Photos – yep we mean the everyday photos app all your photos are saved to. Examining family images and talking about what we see is a great learning opportunity.
Keep to a routine
If the colour coded schedules you’ve seen popping up over instagram aren’t for you, use an ‘order of the day’ instead, with flexibility and no timeframes. Some expert tips:
- Wake up around the same time each morning
- Stick to your usual routine: getting dressed, having breakfast, making your bed etc.
- If your kids have a uniform, you might wish to have them wear the same at home during term time
- Stick to the same spot for learning so there’s a clear divide between school time and free time
Don’t stress about homeschooling
If the pressure of continuing education at home is bringing added pressure, scale it back. Stressed parents are likely to pass anxious feelings on to kids, and stressed kids aren’t capable of learning anyway! Don’t bother trying to replicate school. Since a teacher’s job includes wrangling 20-something kids, schooling at home is more efficient, so it’s more practical to aim for up to 4 hours of education (if you want). Think of other creative ways to educate your kids – there’s so much to be learnt outside of worksheets and books:
- Get them involved in the garden because there’s plenty to learn, and fun to be had. Caring for plants, how they grow, where our food comes from. Here’s a few ideas
- Bake. Ideas include corn fritters, chocolate cookies, or this simple ‘no-measure’ yoghurt cake every French kids knows (and loves)
- Do some fun DIY science projects, here’s some ideas
Luckily, isolation doesn’t mean we’re locked inside our homes! We can still get out around our neighbourhood for walks or bike rides. We just need to practise social distancing (around 2metres) and avoid touching surfaces. And playgrounds are closed. Find a wide open empty space and take a ball. Play eye spy. Plenty of neighbourhoods are doing bear hunts, look out for teddy bears in nearby windows!
Nominate a ‘quiet spot’
If your kids are older, they’re likely to get overwhelmed by the chaotic cabin fever at some point. Of course, we can relate! Before anyone gets to that point, agree on a phrase to say and a nominated quiet spot, where they won’t be disturbed. A bean bag or comfy pile of cushions in a spare room, for example, where they can take a book or tablet.
Lockdown of course also means limited resources – we can’t run down to the shop to pick up those craft items, and we won’t be popping into The Warehouse for a new toy. But it’s amazing what we can come up with when we need to. It doesn’t need to be Pinterest-worthy. It just needs to be something to entertain kids for long enough for you get something done (well, maybe half of it). Look around at what you’ve got – will the kids get some joy out of that box before it gets recycled? Can you re-purpose the beach toys in the backyard? If you’re stuck, the internet is a treasure trove of inspiration.
Stay safe, New Zealand!