Keeping the kids happy when working from home

Mar 20, 2020

This can be a challenging time at home for everyone. Trying to juggle your day job while keeping the kids occupied and entertained is certainly going to add to everyone’s stress. What follows are some simple practices to help keep a sense of calm where everyone can co-exist during these uncertain times.

Establish a routine

Children, young and old, thrive on routine. It gives their day a structure and helps keep boundaries in check. Let young kids co-create a wall chart that details the daily schedules for all the family. This will help maintain quiet times, family mealtimes, and rest times. It might take a day or two to establish these new routines but it will be well worth the effort.

Keeping them occupied

Small children like to feel useful so giving them simple tasks to carry out will keep them happy.

  • Empty out a kitchen or bedroom drawer and ask them to “sort” the contents out
  • Setting up treasure hunts in the garden or the local green spaces can help with fitting in exercise and fresh air into the day while using up all their excess energy
  • Making a den with old sheets and chairs can create a new magical space for them to play. They can hide out here with their toys and their imagination for hours

There are lots of great websites to help with keeping toddlers and kids of all ages educated and occupied:

  • GoNoodle designed to get kids exercising at home.
  • A good way to explain the virus and the importance of  hand washing is to show them this video clip or better still re-create it as an experiment and let them try it out.
  • Marvel artist from Cork, Will Sliney, who has drawn Spider-Man and now works on Star Wars comics set up a new challenge each day on his YouTube channel at 2.00pm WeWilldraw.
  • There are great learning platforms online and one of the biggest is Kahoot which is free to use and gives access to millions of free learning games for the entire family
  • Learning a new skill or language on Youtube is a great way to spend an hour a day for all ages.
  • Lots of museums now offer online tours – what a great way to while away some time while broadening their education.  See this one that covers twelve world class museum visits.
  • Is your local library closed?  No problem, here’s a great elibrary resource which will provide hours of reading and entertainment to kids of all ages.

Be sure to check out the full list of resources at the end of the article.

Connectivity

Connecting with grandparents and other family members, as well as friends, using online technology has never been more important.  Setting up regular “Skype” or “Facetime” chats will benefit all of us and ensure we reduce the feelings of isolation and loneliness communities are facing.  Perhaps grandparents can “Skype” at bedtimes and read goodnight stories each night?  Getting groups of young children to connect with their best friends and peers regularly will help maintain the fun elements of each day and has never been easier to set up.

Family time

Creating a hour or two per day for family activities will be a necessary part of any new routine.  Here are some easy ways to have together as a family:

  • Preparing the family meal – getting everyone involved from the choosing of the meal/recipe, chopping the veg, laying the table, and clearing away. Capitalise on the extra time at home to make meal times count
  • Movie night – have regular movie nights which allow each member of the family to pick their favourite movie
  • Board games – now is the time to dust off the Monopoly and Pictionary.Kids love this time with their parents when everyone comes together and all devices are turned off and put away
  • Getting outside – having regular excursions outside to the park, the beach and any green spaces is a great way to spend quality family time while enjoying some fresh air and exercise!

The first few days of this schedule may seem a little awkward as we all get used to our new “normal” but children are so adaptable and will follow our lead.  Before long, when they see us relax into the new schedule, they will too. This structure of activities and routines will help keep us all productive and appropriately challenged. We may even find we all benefit considerably from this extra time together – here’s hoping!

Extra resources

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