Statewide Childrens Resource Program have collated a list of activity ideas for families whose children might be at home from school either now or in the future.
While this is a time that we have not experienced before, children will generally take their cues from the adults closest to them. Children’s security comes from the connection they have with adults who can manage what is happening. If we are panicking, distressed and fighting to get to the toilet paper, children feel overwhelmed because they can feel they have lost their safe support.
It is appropriate that we tell children that things will be different for a while but they are safe and we will get through this. Where possible, keep to routines as children find security in structure, though we need to model flexibility as well.
If young children are out of school for a number of weeks, it is important to assist, if you can with some counting/reading games/activities. Your child’s primary school should be able to give you some ideas as well as the sites below.
Top 10 rainy day activities
Days with Grey - 50 Play ideas
Being outside in nature can also calm, occupy and stimulate children. While the weather is still ok, even a bug hunt in the back yard may be a new thing, Don’t disturb the bugs but children can take some photos and maybe try and draw them. Coloured leaves will start appearing soon and some children can find calm is organising ie. smallest to biggest leaf, green through to red leaves. Some food based activities may be limited but things like pantry bingo where everyone helps decide what things to use up (it’s happening at my house right now!) can again, help keep children engaged and reduce anxiety.
Some screen time is fine, some late nights are fine, some junk food meals are ok (however that looks for you).
Free images of just about anything children love are available to print and colour in. Children can make up stories from several images and adults can write the words and staple the stories together.
Adolescents will probably have more guidance from their school but it can be very stressful for tees to feel trapped at home (even if they spend a lots of their time at home in their room-the loss of choice and self-determination can bring up lots of emotions, compounding concerns about missing work, getting things done on time etc. Despite sometimes limited communication from teens (not always), it is really important that we offer them some extra care-making them a hot drink/favourite food, running them a bath, burning a candle, encouraging them to get outside for a bit and hugs can be little things that can help.
Social distancing is not recommended between parents and their children while you are isolating at home. You may hug, cuddle, kiss and close play with you r children as much as you like.
During this time, it is also very important that parents are taking care of themselves. Being at home with children with little opportunities for socialisation, outside activities and energy burning play is stressful for both children and adults.
Find time, where possible for a hot cup of your favourite beverage (hot gin and tonic is not recommended), a shower or bath (baths/water can be very soothing for children as well-maybe with some food colouring, bubbles, toys that are not usually in the bath). Listen to your favourite music, read a lovely book, take to your support people, skype relatives who you cannot visit. Breathe deeply (use a relaxation app maybe), meditate, make your own art/craft and laugh as much as possible.
If your children are old enough, you may set some time that is just for them to do as they please and for you to do as you please, maybe an hour or so a couple of times a day, as it works for you. For those with very young ones, take advantage of nap times to do self-soothing things for you. This can allow you some time out and give everyone a time to draw breath.
Avoid too much Facebook catastrophe input and look for pages like The Kindness Pandemic-a worldwide page where people are reporting lovely things that are happening. Share these things with your children.
Listen to the facts, seek help as you need and be as kind to yourself as you are to others. You will all have lots of ideas yourselves and Pinterest, local FB pages are bursting with ideas for children, often local support pages.
If you are interested in asking about how to support your children or you just want to have a chat, please contact me Susie Lukis, Childrens Resource Program Reprsentative at firstname.lastname@example.org