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So, with how difficult lockdown has been, we have all struggled to come to terms with what we can and can’t do. This is especially the case with those who are currently sharing custody of their child/children. Obviously, split custody and child contact can be a very sore topic to touch on, but it’s one of importance. Lockdown will only have made this topic sorer and things like Christmas will only exasperate these issues further. If you need any professional advice during this time, how about using family law professionals such as family lawyers in Mayfair to help combat any issues you have over this already tough period? When you are feeling more settled with your situation, you can start to look on the bright side of things. So, here are some tips for staying home during lockdown with children. I hope you find them useful.
Age appropriate puzzles and board games
When we find ourselves bored, what better than to reach for the board games and puzzles? They are full of tasks and fun that pass the time quickly. After all, time flies when we’re having fun right?
I know I personally love board games and puzzles. I’m a big kid at heart and I think we can find solace in the beautiful innocent minds of the young these days, especially during this scary and tough time the world is facing. If we are going to stay home in order two stay safe, we need to occupy ours and our little ones mind. I say get the games and puzzles and incorporate them into your daily routine. There are so many games our there to suit all ages and can really bring a household of varied ages together.
Want some ideas of various games? Here’s a few:
* Guess who?
* Connect 4 – Small and big scaled
* Hungry Hungry Hippos
* Cheeky Monkeys
* Snakes and Ladders
* Sleeping Queens
* Charades – Age appropriate
* Make N’ Break
* Chad Valley Fishing Game
* Simon Says
* Eye Spy
You can shop for age appropriate puzzles on Amazon! You can find the simplest and easiest of puzzles all the way to the thousand piece ones! They are guaranteed to keep the little and not so little ones busy for hours and can be done either in one day or over the period of a few weeks! My partner and I got one for Christmas and It was a thousand piece Marvel one; It was beyond amazing to do! We used it for a date night indoors as we watched Marvel films.
Child friendly baking
There’s nothing like baking some delicious treats, especially when you have lots of time on your hands and let’s face it the little ones love tasty sweet cakes and cookies!
Below are some sweet treats you can make with the little one without too much faff:
* No bake Chocolate cornflake nests
* No bake Chocolate Rice crispy cakes
* Simple Cupcakes
* No bake loaves
* A big cake! With any decor. Maybe even a ‘Stay home’ one.
Food is a great thing to use in keeping you and the family occupied, having fun and being productive. What better than fun and tasty treats afterwards? Well and maybe a little bit of a mess hehe.
Learning new hobbies together
Since your little one is missing play groups and school, it is a great opportunity to spend some one to one time doing things you both love and embracing creative outlets. Use the time to do activities or hobbies that are usually limited due to lack of hours in the day! It’ll be a great way to keep the kids busy as well as maybe tiring them out for a more relaxed evening!
You can even try and figure out a schedule of different hobbies and activities each day to keep a routine for the little ones since they have been stripped of their normal school or activity schedules. Keeping yourself busy is vital in this worrying time and will help time go faster as isolating means spending extended amounts of time inside. As they say ‘Time flies when you’re having fun’
Here’s a list of hobbies and activities to do:
* Treasure Hunts inside or in your garden (If you have one).
* A musical instrument – Age appropriate
* Garden actives such as football, soft ball and badminton (If you have a garden)
* Colouring, painting, drawing, arts & crafts
* Hairstyles for fun
* Painting nails
* Reading and writing
* Sewing and knitting
* Taking pictures
* Learning about a desired subject
There are endless resources online and lists of activities that will fill up your day and be fun for your children of all ages! I am obsessed with Pinterest; It’s an app and website full of amazing images and videos linked to websites. I promise you will find tonnes of lists of activities and even crafting projects as well as ways to create some down time when you’re in need of a relax.
Find fun ways of teaching and homeschooling
For many, virtual school is going to be difficult, limited and come with it’s problems for those with poor internet connection, those without technology able to connect via video chat and just in general for young children. Technology can be frustrating and added on top of this difficult time it is not always going to be straight forward, especially when schooling is such a laborious task as it is without the lack of experience in teaching etc.
Here are some tips of mine about finding fun ways of teaching and homeschooling with no experience:
* Pinterest is your best friend!
There are so many fun ideas of age appropriate ways to teach from zero onwards. Of course for very young children and those within the teen years it is going to be more difficult to find things to occupy, stimulate and be appropriate as the young ones will struggle to understand and the older ones may not always want to take it seriously. Make a Pinterest account and I promise you will not regret it!
* Use the technology you have, if you are able to. Young people have become so involved in technology and I must say it is currently the best resource we have for teaching during lockdown limitations. There are online resources for maths, English, science, language and all kinds of lessons needed. Youtube is a great way to visually teach young people certain topics as lets face it visual stimulation is the best way for many people today to learn.
* Educational podcasts may be a great way to teach those with limited eye sight or those who prefer to learn by listening!
* Get out in nature whether than be a garden if you have one or to your local park keeping social distancing. Take a magnifying glass to spruce up your educational adventures! There is so much to discover outdoors and is a great way to incorporate science into your daily exercise.
* Netflix or TV in general have great educational programmes for all ages and are easily accessible! Since Television is a huge part of most lives, it is a fun and intriguing way to educate.
* Homemade science experiments can get adults, young children and teens involved in something fun! It’s a great way to teach, learn and enjoy. Even baking is a great way to teach children and young people cooking science and a new skill!
* Not putting too much pressure on those trying to learn. Remember that it is hard enough having to be a sponge in school, let alone at home with so many distractions and being so out of their educational zone. Encourage and push but also keep in mind how difficult change is for some children and young people. Too much pressure is going to possibly cause a decline in morale!
Spend some time searching for fun books together
I absolutely love books and since being approved as a foster carer for my nieces and nephew I have been searching Amazon for books to add to our little home library book shelf!
During our video chat contact with the children we read some books and then discussed what kind of books they like and would like us to get. They came back with lots of topics including princesses, bunny rabbits, dinosaurs, fairies, paw patrol and Peppa pig! I immediately took to the internet to see what I could find and ordered some fab books for our next contact and for when the children move in.
It’s a great thing to get children into as reading is a skill they will need and it is so good for their minds! Reading help development and starting at an early age is important. Reading is also so much fun and really can help improve creativity and imagination. My 5 year old niece wants to be a writer! I cannot wait to take them all to book shops and enjoy their little faces lighting up as we wander the shelves looking for new additions to our library!
Do some outdoor garden activities or indoor to keep exercise within your daily routine
There are many ways to keep children active! Let’s face it, they don’t always need much encouragement as they can be naturally full of energy and it can be hard for us to keep up hehe.
One of the easiest ways to get some exercise is to take the children to the park whilst practising social distancing. Take a badminton set, a football or just a little ball to throw lightly. You can even just go for scenic walks or play in the garden with some hula hoops and soft balls.
Youtube is another great way to encourage activity in children as they like to copy what they see so get onto youtube if it is available to you and pop on a wake up shake up video where other children and adults lead a fun little physical activity dance and shake about! Or get creative and choreograph your own with the kids help
Have a fun day of clearing through clothes
As I mentioned above, children will naturally copy us and they find cleaning interesting so why not have some fun with it by including your little one in some fun chores! I find clearing and sorting through clothes and your wardrobe is a fun task to do and it can be made even more fun with little helpers. It’s productive, fun and great for a good spring clean ready for when lockdown lifts plus its teaching them how to keep their space clean and clear.
Find and do some fun challenges like those on TikTok
If you have access to and are a fan of Tiktok then watching the challenges and dances can be a joyous activity and will guarantee a growing smile and much laughter! If it’s up your street you may also want to try some of the fun challenges to keep yourself and little ones occupied whilst having fun and possibly being active too! I bet the filters will also make for some hilarious times too.
If you choose to record videos, you don’t have to post them ever but just keeping them for memories is great too. You can even cheer up a loved one by sending it to them.
Do some fun crafting or art!
Find ways to occupy your little one with arts and crafts and maybe some sensory play. Pinterest will be your number one companion for fun crafts and sensory activities! There are hundreds of ways to have fun with crafting and there are many ways to get around the messy fun too with hacks on how to make crafting child and mess friendly. You can even take your crafting fun into the bath or shower to make it easy to clean up whist changing the scenery!
Start your own little herb and plant garden
Keeping the element of nature fun, maybe consider planting some seeds indoor or outdoor for your little one to water and watch grow into something wonderful! You can grow flowers, succulents or even fruit and veg to make the journey even more fun with a tasty and healthy end in sight!
Not only is it fun but also incredibly educational for young minds and teaching them about plant processes and how food grows daily. It is a great little task that you can incorporate into your daily routine for them to enjoy and get involved in alongside other things!
Take some nice pictures exploring your garden and home
If available to you, a camera of some sort always makes things more exciting! Not only are you documenting progress ad creating memories but taking photographs is so much fun for young minds and helps them flourish by teaching them how a camera works and being able to look back on things you did with them. You can use your phone or a camera to head outside and take pictures or even just get your little ones to photograph and discover parts of your home you wouldn’t normally take much notice of.
You can even print out the images at a later date and create a scrapbook with the kids which is so exciting if you get some tape, pens and pencils and really get into making it colourful and memorable!
Face time family and friends
Since we are still not able to fully see family and friends, a great way to keep in touch if possible is through video chat on our phones, tablets or laptops. Keeping in touch is so good for children as it keeps them interested and can really brighten thie r moods to see and interact with other people who are usually a part of their daily lives. Interaction and engagement is vital for a young persons mind to flourish and grow!
You can even spruce up video calls and phone calls by playing games, doing a joint virtual activity, telling storied or even playing with the filters on the app you’re using to get some big smiles and laughter involved!
Watch some fun child friendly films
Having a movie night or marathon is so muych fun and is a great way to get the kids to engage and be occupied during this tough time in lockdown. You can always find educational shows too that the whole family can sit and watch and enjoy.
Film nights are a great way of promoting self care and relaxing the mind, body and soul. A bath or shower, warm drink, film and then bed sounds like the perfect way to end a day!
You can find shows and films on your TV or online such as on Netflix, Prime video, Disney plus and many more! The selection is truly endless and there really is something for everyone!
I hope this post helped you think of some ways of keeping your child busy and happy during lockdown!
I’d love to hear what you’ve been doing to keep the little ones busy.