So here we are again caught up in lockdowns, some more severe than others across New Zealand, but most of us are aware that lockdowns potentially aren’t going away anytime soon – sadly. It’s a very stressful time for everyone, financially, emotionally, mentally, and then throw into the mix our children’s wellbeing and home-schooling and it’s a lot for us all to take on.
Luckily, we are getting a little more experienced at how to deal with these new restrictions put on us at such short notice – not that that makes it any easier. Having a few tricks up your sleeve so you are ready to tackle the days ahead with children, can make for a calmer and more harmonious environment. Here are just some ideas that could help in your home.
- Find your new routine – Kids thrive on routine. Suddenly changing their usual routine can be a bit of an adjustment. If you can find your new at home routine quickly, it should help your kids (and you) adjust much faster. A good idea is to get up at the same time you usually would, have the same morning breakfast routine and have an activity ready to go – it could be going for a walk, playing a game, or doing some baking. This is a great starting point to setting your day up and your child or children will know what to expect each morning.
- Get in some form of exercise – As the seasons change the weather isn’t as consistent as we would like it to be, but don’t let that get in the way of family exercise. If a walk is off the cards, try a dance party in your living room, a kids online yoga class (YouTube is good for this) or just playing tag around your house. Exercise is a great way to get the endorphins flowing which will lift everyone’s mood. It’s amazing how much fun you can have with your kids when you get your bodies moving.
- Get creative – Build huts, bake a new muffin, or cookie recipe you haven’t tried, make up a new game, use those boxes that you’ve had delivered from online shopping and make robots, playhouses, cars, or anything else you desire out of them. Being creative can feel daunting but once you start, you’ll find it extremely rewarding.
- Get outside – As much as you can, try to immerse yourself in nature. Do a bush walk with your kids, make up a nature scavenger hunt or do some gardening. Being outdoors and breathing in fresh air is so good for everyone’s mental health. It’s also a great way to escape the pressure of bubble life inside your home.
- Communicate – No matter what your child’s age is, it’s always good to chat and make sure they are doing ok. A simple “is anything worrying you?” or “how are you feeling?” is a good place to start. Often children can feel anxious about their new routine but aren’t sure how to verbalise it. If a parent checks in every now and then it gives the child an opportunity to air any concerns and for you to be able to talk through anything that could be on their minds.
- Stay in touch with friends – Just because kids can’t physically see their friends, it doesn’t mean they can’t digitally see them. A quick FaceTime with a friend, can be a great way to keep those friendship bonds going. Or if FaceTime isn’t your thing, a phone call is just as good. Put it on speaker phone and let the kids go about their play whilst being able to chat and tell one another what they are doing. It’s great to keep these friendships active so that when the time comes to being together physically again, it may not be so overwhelming.