As parents our main priority has to be our children. When things are running as normal; school intact, smooth routines, fairly set schedules, we feel a sense of capability, achievement and adequacy. We are able to balance life a little better. With our domestic angels taking care of the cleaning, our teachers and educators stimulating the children, our shopping lists and carts checked out on a Sunday so that meals are ready to roll out during the week, tight schedules allowing us to complete our 8-hour workdays… our days are broken into segments and planned efficiently.
It is now Day 18 of the National Lockdown and most of us continue to be torn between, working, cleaning, cooking, exercising, speaking kindly to our partners and most realistically…. CHILD CARING.
Everywhere we look; all over social media and media in general we are bombarded by what we ‘should’ be doing… great ideas to keep the children entertained and how we need to use the all the ‘extra’ time.
Whilst these are all mostly wonderful ideas and connection opportunities, it is important to remember that children are;
- In the moment
- Routine desiring
- Allowed to be bored
- Growing and developing well by PLAYING
We do not need to be entertaining and stimulating our children every moment of everyday.
“Play gives children a chance to practice what they are learning” Fred Rodgers
Many schools have issued activity packs and for older children online learning is taking place, however if you as a parent, are feeling lost and unsure where to turn… we suggest that…
For young children; One or two planned activities is more than enough stimulation for a day
For older children; take one or two hours a day to practice some literature or numeracy activities; or go through things that you know have been weak areas at school
As a family; practice some growth mindset activities…you will be amazed at what positivity comes from this focus, far more than any amount of pressure you put on yourself as well as your child to full these lockdown days with piles of school work or being knee deep in activities or worrying about what you are going to create next to keep you little one busy.
Look at the opportunities that each day provides naturally and critically think about ways in which you can scaffold and enhance the experiences for your child.
You don’t plan anything for day 15, your child takes out a puzzle; you know your child cannot do this puzzle, but you need to send a couple of emails. How can you enhance the learning experience here?
- Help your child think through the process
- Find the edge pieces first
- Look for all the ‘red’ pieces
Whilst you could have been doing baking, playdough, worksheets, etc. etc. You have offered them opportunity and time to think, plan, problem solve. Skills that are invaluable throughout life. Yes! do the baking, make the sensory gloop, print the worksheets, but also remember that there is opportunity in EVERY situation to learn…. even if it is only incidental.