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A realistic guide to entertaining kids during lockdown

If you, like so many others, find yourself staring at the cold, hard reality of social distancing and self-isolation with young children in tow, you may be concerned (read: panicking) about how you’ll entertain them. With schools and nurseries closed, parents everywhere are grappling with the logistics of working AND being full-time carers for their children. And as any parent will attest to, being indoors with children for an entire day and not having access to your usual modes of entertainment (play-dates/park/soft play/music group etc.) can make every hour feel like a week!

We hope to ease the burden a little with the below resources (mainly geared towards primary school aged children) but, most importantly, we want to remind you that out of all the tactics you employ, being kind to yourself might just be the most important. More on that further down…

Things to keep the kids busy:

Play Hooray – Claire of Play Hooray has a seemingly endless store of creative ideas to make playing with your children fun and educational. She is organising a live ‘play along’ every weekday at 10am on her Instagram and her blog is full of  genius ‘play prompts’.

The Body Coach does P.E – Joe Wicks is running a P.E. lesson every morning at 9am – his charismatic and energised presence is sure to have your kids engaged. Check out his channel on YouTube.

Oliver Jeffers reads a bedtime story – beautifully simple in both narrative and illustrations, multi-talented Oliver Jeffers is reading one of his stories every evening at 6pm on his Instagram stories. His own kids often make an appearance and he wraps up each story with a fun, related activity.  

Twinkl – a treasure trove of educational resources for all ages, from writing practice and phonics, to maths and science worksheets.

NatGeo Kids – fascinating videos that will educate the kids whilst freeing you up to do other things.

Audible – in a widely lauded move, Audible have made 100’s of kids books available for free. If you’re worried about too much screen-time, audiobooks are a brilliant alternative that can keep kids captivated for hours.

Cosmic Kids Yoga – themed yoga sessions that children of all ages can follow along to. Fun, upbeat and subtly peppered with tips around breathing, staying calm, managing emotions etc. Check it out here.

Virtual museum tours – did you perhaps have an Easter holiday planned that has now been cancelled? Museums around the world have created virtual tours of their establishments – a perfect way to whisk the kids off (virtually) to destinations across the world. A summary of tours here.

The YesMum guide to home learning – we love this guide because it’s not only practical, but also considers the emotional health of the family and includes some positive affirmations (can be printed and cut out).

ABC Does – a lovely mix of educational and fun activities that include making puppets, home-made fossils, a 2-ingredient cloud dough and ice caves!

Practice parental self-acceptance

Be realistic about what you can achieve. So, the kids watch a little more TV than they normally do? It’s ok. As parents, we’re under enormous pressure during these unprecedented global events, your usual rules and standards are off the table. Resist creating a minute-by-minute schedule and feeling like a failure when it doesn’t work out. Practice flexibility and plenty of self-love and acceptance. Focus on keeping your children happy and healthy, the rest will follow.