Tens of millions of kids around the world are out of school due to mandatory lockdowns caused by the coronavirus pandemic. If you’re reading this, you’re probably one of many parents who are wondering how to keep kids entertained during this time.
Many of us are ready to pull our hair out, with home-schooling and organizing play activities - sometimes it’s simply too much. After all, children aren’t used to being home all day and parents aren’t accustomed to entertaining and educating kids while still keeping the work routine.
The key to keeping your kids entertained is to follow the example of your child’s school; create a routine. Kids are used to following a predetermined routine and they typically thrive when they have set goals to achieve each week.
The good news is that establishing a routine for your kids can be quite simple and easy. Read on to learn different ways to entertain your kids during the quarantine!
“Education is what survives when what has been learned has been forgotten. – B. F. Skinner
Create a School Routine
The first thing you need to do is create an academic schedule based on their school’s daily framework. After all, they’ll most likely receive daily emails from their teacher with details of activities to do and give them homework.
Your job is to come up with a routine that’ll make it easier for your kids to get their work done:
- Create a schedule with breakfast, snack and lunchtimes
- Make sure to include a recess time
- Create separate chunks of activity throughout the day
- Figure out if your child is more of a morning or afternoon person and plan their hours based on that
Make Time to Play
Once you have a schedule with sections for academic work and food breaks, you can then use the rest of the time to input the rest of the day’s activities.
This includes child-led play where your kid spends time just doing the things they enjoy, whether it’s inventing their own worlds or engaging their imagination.
Create 15 to 30-minute blocks within your schedule that are dedicated to different forms of playing. Make sure there are several of these blocks to keep the day fun and exciting.
Here are a few ideas on how keep kids entertained during playtime:
- Remove damaged or unused toys so that it’s easier to find their favorite toys and start playing as soon as possible.
- Keep the “open-ended toys at the front of the room. This includes simple toys like kitchen sets, dolls, cars, mats, and blocks. They are less enticing than shiny battery-powered toys, but usually way more fun to play with.
- Keep adult involvement to a minimum and keep in mind that play is primarily your child’s job. If your kids do ask you to participate, accept graciously if you can but you don’t have to take part all the time. Independent yet supervised play can be just what your kids need to let off some steam.
Do Indoor Activities
Free play is fun and all but there are different ways to entertain kids other than free play. Kids actually like it when parents get involved by organizing some of their play activities.
This doesn’t have to take a lot of time or effort to set up. Just look for something fun and creative to do in-between snacking and academic activities. It could even be napping or playing a small puzzle.
Take a Break Every Now and Then
There should be two or more recess periods included in your schedule, where you allow your kids to go outside and explore the outdoors.
No matter how bad the weather seems, remember that kids are used to playing outside at school no matter what the climate is like.
You can take your kids for a bike ride around the block, or let them jump on the trampoline in your backyard, or simply run around to burn off steam. This will make it easier for them to sleep at night.
Reading to kids is essential to making sure that they succeed in life. Not only will this turn them into avid readers later in life, but it’ll improve their chances of doing well in school.
Make sure to include a 20 minute or longer reading block of time in your daily schedule. You could separate this reading block into different 5 to 10-minute sections or make it one long period of time.
You could encourage your child to read aloud or you could read to them or read together at the same time.
There are no perfect days
The most important thing to keep in mind when planning fun family activities is to not beat yourself about wanting to create the “perfect days.
There are times when you won’t stick to your schedule and sometimes your kids might just want to watch movies instead of reading or going outside. Whatever the case, take it easy on yourself and on them.
Need some help around the house while you’re busy with work or with the kids? Contact a local cleaning company and it will be one less thing to worry about!