Health & Well-being

Lockdown continues: 10 more things to do

Parenting Place Lockdown Things To Do

Lockdowns with kids are no walk in the park. In fact, even walks in the park are tricky – if not illegal. If you’re running low on creativity and entertainment ideas, we’re certain you’re not alone. Here are ten more things for you to try at your place.

11. Write some lists

We love this idea a parent shared on our Facebook page – she’s made three ‘to-do’ lists with her kids:

  1. Jobs and projects to do around the house and garden
  2. Things they can do to help support their learning
  3. Things they can do for fun

Stick these lists to the fridge and you’ll have some goals in place to make use of lockdown days.

Family Coach Jenny Hale has long been an advocate of The Fridge List (you can read about it in her book, Kind, Firm, Calm). Jenny explains that The Fridge List is a great tool to have on hand when you hear the inevitable "I'm bored" from your kids – in lockdowns and normal life. Gently direct your kids to a list of activities stuck to the fridge and encourage them to choose something to do for themselves. This allows our kids a chance to take some responsibility, make choices and spark their own imaginations and creativity. They're actually really good at finding things to do, given the chance.

12. Relax

While the closure of schools has sent some parents into a spin of home-schooling preparation, and dining tables across the country have been transformed into learning hubs, we can also be encouraged by the amazing learning opportunities our kids have simply being at home with us, doing everyday life and subsequently picking up some valuable life skills. Cooking, for example, has our kids following recipes, weighing and measuring ingredients and observing basic scientific reactions between ingredients. Self-directed reading, art and creative writing – all rich learning experiences.

Bear in mind that the six hours our kids would normally spend at school are not all spent on textbook study and spelling bees. An hour of focus at the dining table with parent supervision and gentle encouragement equates to a gold star for all – so go easy on yourself Teacher Mum and Teacher Dad. Do your best with any prescribed study or lessons and then look for incidental learning opportunities that will occur naturally throughout your day together.

13. Make a movie

This could be an ongoing project – brainstorming, script writing, costuming, location planning, filming and editing. Again, here’s a great opportunity to harness the power of technology. Most smart phones have filming and editing capabilities, and this sort of highly-detailed project could take hours… and hours.

14. Read a series

There’s nothing like reading aloud to draw a family together. Start a series of books and build in reading a few chapters into your daily schedule. And if you feel like ‘binge-reading’ – why not?! If you find an author your and the kids love, share it on social media and maybe you could even share books with others in your community via a mailbox drop. Another way to share stories with your kids is listening to audio books together – there are loads of blogs and podcasts out there of people reading aloud children’s books.

15. Throw a dinner party

So you may not be able to invite anyone outside the family, but you could get the kids to plan a theme and menu for a special dinner together. This could absorb many hours with planning, invitations, decorations, outfits, music and entertainment arrangements. Last lockdown we did dinners where we all had to come dressed as something starting with the letter of one of our child’s names. One night we dined with a leopard, a lion, a lollipop and Luke Skywalker. It was special.

One night we dined with a leopard, a lion, a lollipop and Luke Skywalker. It was special.

16. Play games

This is a great time to get back to basics. Board games, card games, improvisation games, Googled games… it’s time to press play. For the more competitive folks, you could start a leader board whereby you update scores daily – especially if it looks like each family member is showing a strength at a particular game and the honours can be spread around.

17. Give each other some space

There will be plenty of together time in the coming weeks, what there might not be a lot of is alone time. Schedule some time each day where everyone in the family is encouraged to be by themselves for 30 minutes or so – in their rooms, at their desk, in the garden or on their bed. Some downtime will do everyone good. Time to read a book, play quietly with a collection of little toys, even take a nap. Then come back together for some afternoon tea and a shared activity – helping kids see that the connection in their family is still strong, even if Mum needs to be by herself for sometimes.

18. Keep moving

Fitness is key to our health and well-being, and vital for our immunity. Build physical activity into the day – a daily walk, a scooter or bike ride, an online Pilates class, GoNoodle (an online kids fitness website, basically a dance party in your lounge) – anything that gets the heart rate up for at least 30 minutes will be good for the whole family.

19. Bake bread

If you can manage to get your hands on some flour, have a go at making bread with your kids. It’s a rich and meaningful experience, and not one that we necessarily have time for in the business of normal life. It’s slow too – the kneading and rising take time, in fact the process could take all day if you want it to. But what a special way to while away the hours and for children to see a process through from start to finish.

20. Take a technology break

Yes, this is technology’s time to shine and we are all extremely grateful for the digital connection available to us in this time of physical isolation. However, we need to keep in mind the addictive nature of technology, especially social media platforms, and balance our online connection time with plenty of tech-down-and-switched-off time. The news, the reviews, the social media feeds – these platforms are a constant source of information in this season, but we don’t need to engage with them all day. Check in perhaps once or twice a day, more so for any work requirements, but balance your engagement with plenty of real-life non-digital activity. You know, the books, recipes and musical instruments we talk about on social media – now’s the time for rich and real experiences to become more than just a status update.

Ellie Gwilliam

Ellie Gwilliam

Ellie Gwilliam is a passionate communicator, especially on topics relating to families. After 20 years in Auckland working mainly in publishing, Ellie now lives in Northland, with her husband and their three daughters, where she works from home as content editor for Parenting Place. Ellie writes with hope and humour, inspired by the goal of encouraging parents everywhere in the vital work they are doing raising our precious tamariki.

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