#AD The Kindi Kids Rainbow Kate & Puppy Petkin Delivery Scooter were kindly gifted to include in this article. Opinions are our own.
5 steps to help parents maintain children’s routine during lockdown with Kindi Kids!
The schools are closed – taking away children’s usual 8.30am to 3.30pm routine.
With childcare establishments shut, parents are faced with the daunting prospect of keeping children entertained. Plus point, no more mornings with a school refuser. Most of us have ended up with more to do in a day. Simultaneously keeping them educated, fed (with 100 snacks), fit, co-parenting whilst working and keeping the house clean. The idea of spending the day in our pyjamas in front of the Tv is fun, but it is not sustainable, or good for family wellbeing. That said, we have watched Peppa Pig 1982 times and the odd ‘duvet days’ are good for downtime. With one child with ASD, maintaining a daily routine is important. Being organised and offering structured activities creates good habits, otherwise everyone will lend up feeling down and eating Snickers for breakfast.
The question of how I’m going to get through the next however many weeks keeps swirling through my mind. As it is likely many parents. Here is some advice we put together with the help of Moose toys Kindi Kids on how to maintain an effective routine for children to improve their sense of safety, while parents stay professionally engaged, motivated, and sane!
#Keep the everyday normal.
It gets a little crazy in our house. Even though we do not need to be at the school gates I am still getting the children up early. Giving them half hour more lie in but otherwise the morning routine is the same as on school days. This helps with keeping a consistent bedtime and for an easy transition when they return to the old routine. They eat a good breakfast, brush their teeth, and get dressed as usual. Lunch and bedtimes have not changed. Staying up late is one of the best ways to ruin any routine. Lead by example and talk with your children about what to expect. I have been printing off a routine sheet of what we will be learning in the day, at what times which the eldest reads through in the morning. The children pick out the free play activities. Topping up the craft cupboard is a good idea; baking, potato printing, flour and water play – have been the favourites so far.
We also outline daily chores; I write them on a chalkboard in the kitchen and kids can check them off once finished. By encouraging children to help with housework or cooking they will feel productive. Accomplishments don’t have to be curriculum led.
#Physical activity is important for wellbeing.
I admit some days I have no motivation to leave the house, it holds a level of anxiety for me now. Trying to get a toddler to stay 2m apart from people is hard. Staying home all day can cause children to be unable to exhaust their energies. Cabin fever is a real danger. Check out YouTube for family exercise resources. Should you try yoga with your toddler? We started really motivated with PE with Joe but then my knees gave out. Take the opportunity to go outdoors where you can now exercise unrestricted. We make sure we got for a long walk after breakfast (and another in the evening). It works well time wise, before the sun gets to hot. If you can tie it in with learning then win win, collect sticks and leaves, take pictures of birds to draw and research later. When it rains hide and seek in the house is always a good game.
#Remember it is home learning not school education.
As parents, it’s important you do what you can to support your child’s learning environment. I was feeling a sense of dread at having to home-school my kids.
Having a schedule helped, planning out what topics sent by the school we do on each day. It is essential to provide self-discipline during the online education process. Literacy is best in the morning as my son is more focused then, and dislikes handwriting. Dive into subjects you can easily do at home, such as reading, history, geography, music, writing, and more. Twinkl and BBC Bitesize have been really useful. Don’t expect to much of yourselves or your kids. Many people are feeling overwhelmed. The days are long. Insist on a daily break routine that mirrors school – once in the morning, once in the afternoon, at minimum.
Don’t expect to much of yourselves or your kids. Don’t put yourself under the pressure of replacing your child’s teacher. Instead of worrying that children are not doing enough schoolwork, parents should view the enforced break as an opportunity for some child-led, individualised learning, which most schools struggle to offer.
#Self-care and fun with Kindi Kids.
Try to think of things you can do as a family but also for the kids to have some space and down time. Parents do not need to be full-time entertainers for their children. It is exhausting thinking of constant activities and I don’t know about you, but I hate playing Hot Wheels. Provide children with opportunities to play on their own.
We were recently sent some of the preschool favourite Kindi Kids toy range from the award-winning Moose toys. Kindi Kids have been sharing #30daysofplay over on their Facebook page – suggesting loads of fun activities and ways to play at home. Norah received a Kindi Kids Toddler Doll Rainbow Kate (£24.99) and the Kindi Fun Scooter. The 25cm tall doll has a bobble head which moves around as you play, she has posable legs, big glittery eyes, removable shoes, tutu and colourful styleable hair. Rainbow Kate comes with two Shopkins accessories, including a cupcake and a pink glittery smoothie with a moving straw. The fact the clothes are removable are a lot of fun for little hands. Norah renamed her Martha which is her friend from toddler group which I found really sweet as its harder to know how younger children are feeling without their social groups. The sturdy Puppy Petkin Delivery Scooter retails at £14.99 and was a huge hit. As you push it along the ears of the scooter (which looks a little like a puppy) flap up and down. It also comes with Shopkins that can fit in different compartments and Rainbow Kate fits perfectly on the scooter to ride.
There are a whole collection of Kindi friends to check out here from Argos including Peppa-Mint and Jessicake with accessories like the fun shopping cart and supermarket!
#Help your children stay connected.
It is important for children to find some normality in abnormal times. Physical isolation does not mean social isolation. The majority parents own smartphones, so why not put them to good use? We are lucky to have video apps like Facetime etc so that the children can see and talk to their friends. It is lonely for them in lockdown. Parents have an important role to guide children’s use of these platforms to be effective and safe. Children are used to school, nursery, playdates and pretending to be dinosaurs in the park. With older children to make screen contact a bit more fun why not encourage them to play games together like Top Trumps over Skype and make sure to give a bit of privacy, to make silly jokes and giggle! Caribu is a family friendly phone app that lets you video call with features like games and masks. Apps like this feel less formal but make sure to check out they are suitable first. Take time to configure each device, games console and app your child uses online. Our toddler struggles with attention, so we facilitate a play chat – sing nursery rhymes and read books over Zoom with her nursery group.
Can children see their friends and stay safe?
Some parents may not have access to the internet, or perhaps their children do not like talking on iPad’s. There are lots of other ways to help kids feel close to their friends. Kill two birds with one stone and get in some handwriting practise by encouraging them to write letters.
With local friends we have posted messages for friends walking past to read on windows or written on the pavement outside. Especially on a tough day, this makes children feel loved, valued and happy. Sometimes we wave and pull funny faces. This can be a bit harder as children want to touch. Just as important as keeping contact with friends going is giving them lots of comfort after, as they tend to be a big mixture of happy/sad needing hugs and reassurance. We had a water fight with our neighbours, need inspiration? Have fun in the garden with 11 Zuru water balloon games!
Being bored is ok.
At some point you will all get tired, bored, tearful and fed up. That is ok. You will have up days and down days. Share ideas. Check out 10 easy activities to do with your toddler. Be ready to give lots of reassurance and encourage children to cuddle favourite teddies or Rainbow Kate!