Keeping children entertained during school holidays can be challenging for parents any given time, let alone when faced with an indefinite period of shutdown.
Add in to the mix the already confusing conundrum of staying at home, social distancing and working from your living room whilst parenting, it is inevitable that worries around how the end of PE lessons, school clubs, youth groups, sports teams, seeing friends and family and normal routine in general will impact children in the Cumbernauld area.
It’s been over three weeks since Prime Minister Boris Johnson and First Minister Nicola Sturgeon put the country on lockdown and told people to only leave their houses when it’s absolutely essential to slow the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19).
Whether you have toddlers, younger children or teenagers, it is not easy to keep the whole family busy in a healthy way at the best of times let alone during an unprecedented period of being asked to stay indoors. In this feature, Cumbernauld Family Hub explores how to keep yourself and your children active and entertained during the current coronavirus restrictions.
With the schools closed, parents will want to ensure that younger members of the family are also learning while they are keeping busy. It’s important for all family members to look after their mental and physical health at this challenging time, and striving to keep active through doing positive things each day can be an excellent approach to take.
It’s only too understandable that may you feel like you’re trapped in the house as a family and don’t know what to do to keep everyone busy and coping as well as can be expected. To give you some ideas, Cumbernauld Family Hub has put together the below list of educational and fun things families can do to keep busy and in good spirits whilst quarantining at home over the next few weeks.
24 POSITIVE ACTIVITIES FOR PARENTS AND CHILDREN TO DO DURING HOME QUARANTINE
THINGS FOR PARENTS TO DO….
BE CREATIVE – Revisit a creative hobby you haven’t done for years, like photography, painting, drawing, playing a musical instrument, sculpture, writing, or graphic design. Use it as an escape time away from the news and social media for a while when the kids are occupied and supervised.
MESSAGE FRIENDS AND FAMILY – Are you far from your loved ones? Send them an email to tell them what everyday life is like without them. Or what about choosing at least five people that you haven’t heard from in over a month and sending them a text message to find out how they’re doing?
KEEP MOVING – It’s not easy whilst at home but it is possible! You could try watching and following a fitness class on YouTube every other day. Or what about doing some work in the garden when it’s dry? Even tidying up, doing the housework or having a clear-out can involve quite a bit of movement and exercise without realising it.
LEARN NEW SUBJECTS – Knowledge expands your horizons. Learn about topics you know little to nothing about by watching documentaries and studying online. It can offer a form of escapism and keep your mind active.
REKINDLE COMMUNICATION – If you live with your partner or spouse, spend extra time chatting, laughing, encouraging one another and keeping your spirits up. But also find a good balance between spending time together and not falling over each other’s feet, remember each person needs their own space too.
DRAW CLOSE TO GOD – Do you have a faith but perhaps have fallen away from praying, worshiping or reading scriptures? Use the time to reconnect with your faith. Many local churches, including Cornerstone Christian Fellowship, are streaming weekly worship services online.
PRACTICE RELAXATION – Find a quiet space away from others in the house and practice relaxation techniques such as mindfulness, meditation or deep breathing. There are lots of smartphone apps (such as InsightTimer) and YouTube videos which can guide you with this. It really can help reduce any feelings of anxiety, stress and fear.
LOOK INTO VOLUNTEERING – Research volunteering opportunities in the Cumbernauld area and mark down the most interesting ones. When the quarantines and isolation ends, you could become involved with one of these opportunities. You could even volunteer with Cornerstone House Centre later in 2020.
INCREASE YOUR EMPLOYABILITY – Update your CV, so the next time you see a job listing that inspires you, you can be the first to apply. Here are some pointers for writing the perfect CV.
PREPARE PHOTO MEMORIES – Choose 10 photos that represent 2019 (or a different happy year for your family) and put them on a USB stick. As soon as the situation improves, you can take them to a photo shop and have them printed, but in the meantime you can relive all the good memories.
HAVE A CLEAR OUT – Throw away that pile of newspapers, magazines and random papers that has been building up in a corner for months. Or prepare a bag of old clothes to give to a charity shop once they open again. You really don’t need all that junk, do you?!
PLAN A FUTURE ACTIVITY – Start to plan something nice that you would like to do with your family once the current period of isolation is over, even if the present restrictions mean you can’t finalise the plan as yet. Maybe it’s a holiday abroad, making one of your children’s dreams come true, going to a pop concert or sporting event or organising a party for family and friends. Giving yourself something to look forward to can lift your spirits.
THINGS FOR CHILDREN (AND THE FAMILY) TO DO…
PLAY BOARD GAMES – Switch off the iPads and smartphones for a while and play a traditional family board game. A good choice would be an educational one, like Scrabble, Chess or Trivial Pursuit. Or if it’s too unbearable to put the digital devices away, why not play an online educational game instead, like Words With Friends?
TAKE PE LESSONS – PE lessons don’t have to stop for the kids just because school is out. One great idea is for children to join the national phenomenon of 30-minute online PE lessons led by Joe Wicks, which are streamed from his YouTube channel every weekday at 9am.
RECREATE PARTY GAMES – Remember Charades, Musical Statues, I Spy and Musical Chairs? These simple party games might not be so familiar to the current generation of children, but why not introduce them as parents and play as a family?
LEARN ONLINE – Kids Learning Tube is a great online YouTube channel with a mission to educate children of all ages through original music and animation. Maybe you could encourage your children to use the site to discover the countries of the world and their flags or find out more about the brilliant workings of the human body?
HAVE A FAMILY MOVIE DAY – You might not be able to go to the cinema at the moment, but what about recreating the cinema experience with a family movie day in your living room? If you can, pick a film that is uplifting, suitable and all the family agree on. You could even put the lights down, serve the snacks and make tickets for the kids.
DO JIGSAWS – Dust off those jigsaw puzzles you have in the loft and present them as challenge for your children to complete! It can be a fun, engrossing and intellectual way to pass a few hours, and might even bring a bit of quiet time in the house.
EMBRACE THE DIGITAL AGE – Parents can be understandably reluctant to allow their children too much time playing computer games and on social media, but remember these things can be healthy too when moderated and used sensibly. These are unusual circumstances, so it may be okay to allow children a little extra time than normal on the Xbox or Facebook, to kill the monotony if nothing else. Remember to set parameters though and watch out for it becoming an unhealthy addiction.
SING TOGETHER – Karaoke could be a great idea, so long as it doesn’t disturb the neighbours! If you have a karaoke machine or find a digital way of playing the songs, give it a try, and if not, there’s nothing stopping you from having a family sing-along without any equipment.
PLAY CARDS – Do you have a deck of cards hidden in some drawer in the house? Traditional card games can bring hours of fun and alleviate boredom. Why not teach your children some of the classic and educational card games like Patience, Pontoon, Memory or Switch? If you’re looking for something simpler, why not go for plain old Snap?!
NUTURE HEALTHY INTERESTS AND TALENTS – Is there a musical instrument your son loves learning and playing? Perhaps your daughter has an eye for art and design? If sport is their thing, it may be trickier but maybe a makeshift tennis court could be set up in the back garden, or could you fix that old dartboard to the wall again? Creating an environment where your children are encouraged and able to develop their passions can help at this time.
MAKE READING TIME – Reading is a great way for children to learn and improve their vocabulary. Source what suitable books you have in the house that children of different ages could read, either on their own or together with a parent. Set aside some quiet reading time every day for the family.
HELP WITH CHORES – This one is more mundane, but it’s really important too. Engage your children in suitable household chores, such as doing the dishes and tidying their room. It will not only keep them busy but develop their discipline, self-control, practical skills and work ethic, especially whilst not at school. Reward them too when they work hard and do a good job.
If you are a Cumbernauld parent, guardian or kinship carer and would like some further support to help your family cope during the coronavirus restrictions, please contact Cumbernauld Family Hub via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.