The aim of this blog post is to provide you with some fun ideas to try with your children during lockdown.
Lockdown has its highs and lows, but the most important part is your attitude towards it. Personally, I miss the Health Club and having a work routine. However, the silver lining is that I am spending more time with my children. I try to make every moment enjoyable and I’m constantly thinking of fun activities to do with them – you’ll find my top tips for getting through lockdown with your kids active (and your sanity intact!) below.
Establishing a family routine
If you have not done so already, create a routine with them – it is never too late to start! Children thrive on structure, and the recent months will have been quite disruptive. Depending on their age, you might also be trying to home-school – so having a routine which encompasses your work and theirs will be really important!
All you need is a whiteboard or a piece of paper and a pen – if you want, you can give each day a theme like Wacky Wednesdays or Football Fridays – the key to this is to make it fun and age appropriate. Then, let your kids come up with suggestions for the timetable based on your prompts, giving them a sense of ownership and meaning they are more likely to engage with the schedule.
It is also important to highlight the exciting aspects of the day (for example lunch or art class). Keeping sports activities to afternoons could help to naturally end the school day, as well as helping them use excess energy before dinner and bedtime.
At the end of the school day, get your kids to tick off their chores and the lessons on the timetable. They can then bring this to you for ‘marking’ and any reward you choose – it could be staying up for an extra 30 minutes or even tied to pocket money!
In the evening, bath and bedtime routines are beneficial – co-feeding, reading each night and regular bedtimes will ensure we parents also get down time.
For young children, some educational ideas that work well in my house are:
- Morning storytelling
- Making breakfast together
- Cosmic kids’ yoga or Marvel Workouts on YouTube (getting dressed up is a bonus)
- Short blocks of schoolwork followed by educational activities eg a jigsaw, Jenga, building blocks or arts & crafts
- David Walliam’s Eleveneses or a Live feed-time from a Zoo (both lifesavers)
You could also try:
- Making a den
- Dressing up
- Sorting out food/toys/clothes for charity
- Video calls with family
- Obstacle courses
- Gardening – those without a garden can do indoor plants
Young boys tend to concentrate best for eight minutes and for girls, it is ten minutes. With this in mind, it is best to aim for short learning objectives and tasks, followed by longer activities or active rests.
Activities for teenagers could include:
- HIIT workouts
- Stretching / Yoga / Pilates
- Mini circuit training
- Racket/ball sports
- Bike rides & walks
Talking to young children about Covid-19
Young children are perceptive and it’s difficult to shield them entirely from the news. My personal advice is to be honest. Covid-19 is a topic that children need to understand, but gauge how much you need to explain. There are lots of YouTube videos for children of all ages that help explain the virus. The best video I have seen is from Axel Scheffler – illustrator of The Gruffalo.
For teenagers that are aware of what is going on, it can be a scary and lonely time for them, as they won’t be seeing their friends. Being patient, adaptable and empathetic are key to supporting them. It is important to remind your children, whatever age, that there will be an end to this pandemic and things will return to normal as soon as possible.
Are you a key worker?
The advice above might not be as relevant for you. However, on behalf of everybody at the Health Club, we thank you so much for your efforts. You are doing an incredible job – I can’t imagine the stress you must be under. On your days off, please make sure that you relax and have some time for yourself. Even if your children are still in school, this is probably a very unusual and difficult time for them – hopefully you can still use the activities above on days off to spend quality time with them.
To conclude, having the correct balance of schoolwork and fun for your children is important. Home-schooling is a trial and error process for most of us, but I hope that I have given you some ideas. If you are struggling, try to focus on positives and remember to cherish this extra opportunity to create memories as a family!
Take care and stay strong!