This year has started with an unexpected twist. Typically for this time of year, the weather is getting warmer and the nights are lasting longer, but our doors and plans are remaining firmly shut and sealed. With the outbreak of Covid-19, the government has enforced social isolation to minimise the risk of spreading the virus. Some of us are working from home, schools have been shut, and we only leave the house for exercise or to shop for necessities. This is leading to a lot of free time for some of us!

It’s more important than ever now for us to keep ourselves distracted and entertained over the coming months. It’s easy to slip into a lethargic and dreary routine, making us feel worse — like a never-ending cycle of unproductivity.

And what about those of us with kids? For parents, there’s the added pressure of keeping our children active and entertained during lockdown. The six weeks holidays are enough of a challenge, but being locked indoors with our children week in week out for the foreseeable future is a whole new challenge. How do we keep them busy and engaged and stop them feeling miserable?

Here, we take a look at how you can keep your kids entertained during school.

Keep a routine

Firstly, having a structure is extremely important to a child and will help them to feel secure. It will also provide you with a schedule to work around. Make sure your child is getting up at a good time, is showering, brushing their teeth, getting dressed, and eating meals at the right time. Just because you’re off all day doesn’t mean your child should be sat in front of a screen for the next 10 hours.

Stay active

Encouraging your child to go outside might’ve sounded easy a few months ago. However, going for a walk around the block and not going out to play with friends can be disappointing and difficult to deal with. If you have the means, consider buying something new and fun that your child can exercise with. For example, a new skateboard, scooter, skates, or a bike. It’ll be easy to entice your child to go outside for their hour exercise, get fresh air, and soak up some vitamin D when they’ve got something fun to play with that they can get better at every single day. If you have a garden or a yard, you could even get a skate ramp so that your child can have endless hours of fun on your property, staying active and staying safe.

This won’t only bring health benefits, but your child will be tired out and likely easier to settle on the evening. A win-win situation! If your little ones still have some energy to burn, get Joe Wicks’ YouTube channel up — there are workout videos for kids too!

Free maths lessons with Carol Vorderman

As mentioned, it’s important that children’s minds are still being stimulated and the learning continues. Luckily for you, if you’re not the greatest at maths, Carol Vorderman is offering free online maths lessons to children ages between four and 11 while schools are closed.

Create some fun activities

We know it’s a tough time for many, with some of us losing our jobs or being faced with a pay cut. Don’t think that you have to get new fancy gadgets or spend money each week on something new to keep your child entertained. Get creative and come up with some quirky ideas.

Here are some silly ideas that are bound to create laughs and giggles:

  • Create a scavenger hunt around the house and garden by hiding ‘treasure’.
  • String yarn around the living room and hall to create a ‘mission impossible’ assignment. Who can make it through without touching the yarn?
  • Create a list of criteria for yourself and your child to compete against finding, for example something smaller than you, something bigger than you, something red, something square…you get the idea.
  • Make up a dance to your child’s favourite song.

The possibilities are endless!

Take an interest in your child’s interests

Previously, we were off out to the office everyday working our nine-to-five jobs, while balancing a social life and raising our children. Often, we might not have had the time to engage in our child’s interests as much as we’d like to — so now’s the perfect time.

Catch up with what your child is interested in and delve into it. What has been capturing their attention at school? What have they seen lately on television that has piqued their interest? Perhaps they’re interested in animals or would like to learn about space? Take this time to learn new stuff together, simultaneously bonding and communicating. For example, museums and zoos around the world are live streaming content, such as Edinburgh Zoo, and the more exotic Hirakawa Zoological Park in Kagoshima, Japan. Is your child a budding music fanatic? The Melbourne Symphony Orchestra are also streaming concerts for free online.

The most important thing to remember through all of this is that children thrive on attention from their parents. Giving attention and spending time to interact with them is critical to your child’s development and wellbeing.