If you have children at home right now, you know keeping them active and engaged is going to be a challenge. Beyond answering their questions and helping them feel safe, you’re going to need some creativity to maintain family harmony and keep everyone positive, healthy, active and optimistic instead of feeling cooped up.
Similar to bored adults, bored kids may tend to overindulge in too much television, social media, online gaming, favorite treats and other activities that are best enjoyed in moderation.
So much is unknown in the world right now. But a key to controlling our emotions in uncertain times is maintaining rules, norms and order (as much as we can) in our daily lives. Every family is different, but the structure of a calendar can help you incorporate play, exercise, art, music, games and more in addition to “must do” items of study and work.
The struggle is real for so many of us. Spring break is a finite time period, with camps, planned family vacations and usually a jam-packed schedule. But the coronavirus pandemic puts us in uncharted territory with lockdowns, quarantines, social distancing and no set end date. Tara Haelle of Forbes.com has a wonderful crowd-sourced list of things to do in her 101+ Ideas to Keep Your Kids Busy During Coronavirus Closures.
Baking & Cooking
There’s something about baking that’s comforting, calming and brings families together. Why leave cookie-decorating, pie baking or special family recipes to holidays? Get together in the kitchen and get your bake on! But, you need to balance extra treats with extra movement …
We all know exercise is important, but when routines change, it’s so easy to slip out of good habits. But in this time, exercise is an important part of keeping mentally and physically healthy. If your children are athletes, help them hone their skills in micro ways. They may be stuck inside, but focusing on small movements of their favorite sport can help them continue to enjoy it while still building skills. The popularity of virtual training has exploded during the COVID-19 shutdown. Or, picking up a complementary sport might help them improve in other areas. But don’t complicate things too much. A simple jump rope routine can be a great way to exercise alone or as a family. Fitness guru Joe Wicks is helping youth keep active with Kids Workouts and P.E. With Joe. Or check out many of the free or subscription apps available for exercise at home or in small spaces together or as a family. Even dancing to their favorite music counts!
All the world’s a stage …
Family vacation may be canceled, but there’s a world of culture literally at your fingertips from anywhere with an internet connection. Here’s a wonderful guide from CNN on all the virtual concerts, plays, museums and culture you can enjoy from home. Make it a special family event and dress in character for a favorite play. Create a fancy dinner menu based on the city of your virtual museum visit. Or jam along to the concert with your own air violins, air drums or air guitar.
Encourage their passions
Bestselling author and illustrator Mo Willems is teaching kids to draw via his Lunch Doodles Youtube sessions. Is your kid a tech whiz? This might be the perfect time to immerse them in an online coding camp or in-depth science study program. Those who are musically inclined can take this opportunity to learn or further their skills.
Jane, are you on mute?
If you’re juggling a work-from-home schedule and have a toddler, it can be especially challenging. They aren’t yet old enough for a regular home-school schedule, but you need to keep them occupied (and hopefully quiet) while you make your presentation in that next Zoom call. Here are 40+ Best Indoor Activities for kids stuck inside from BusyToddler.com
Just breathe Remember to incorporate fresh air and a bit of sunshine into the routine. That may be difficult if you live in a high-rise in a big city, but even there, you could place a yoga mat on a balcony or in a sunny window for some stretching or even a noon picnic. If you can get outside and maintain a safe social distance, go for a walk or jog around the block. And if you have a private garden or back yard, you could collect leaves, count flowers or even plant or tend a garden.
We are all in this together. We want to know your favorite ways of keeping active and engaged during this time. Please share with us!