Staying home is our new reality right now. With shops, cafes, play centres and schools closed, we are all feeling a tad overwhelmed with the prospect of keeping the kids happy and entertained daily. Whilst things may get a bit hectic and require some clever juggling (and a whole lot of coffee), we have faith that, if we stick together, we can ride this out. That’s why we’re sharing our five tried-and-true tips, for staying ‘in-in’ with the kids.
1. PLAN IT OUT
With nurseries and schools closed, you may want to think about creating a timetable to follow, which can be adapted for your children’s age and stage. But remember, play is the foundation for under 5’s learning, so be sure to include free time foraging in the garden, calm moments with puzzles or games as well as opportunities to get crafty, colouring and collaging. The Family Lockdown Tips & Ideas group on Facebook, which has almost 150K members already, has loads of printable timetables and ideas for easy activities to set up for preschoolers through to tweens.
2. ADAPT YOUR SPACE
Plenty of us across the globe are adapting our homes to make remote working easier, so consider changes for your little ones’ new routines as well. If they don’t have a designated play room, build a den together for them to call their own. Pl-ug tents and The Den Kit Co. are two brands perfect for this. Also, think of ways you can make use of neglected spaces - right now every nook helps! A KIDLY insider tip: lay down yoga or play mats in your unloved hallways and play Cosmic Kids Yoga on Youtube. Thirty minutes of stretching, breathing and storytelling with your kids is great for the soul!
3. ROTATE THEIR TOYS
Ever heard the phrase ‘I have nothing to play with!’ Yes, us too. 😬 Kids often have so many toys that they don’t get excited by them anymore. We are true believers in making fewer toys available at one time and then frequently swapping them out for others. Now is a good time to rotate their toys regularly, especially the big items. One day bring out the garage and cars, the next move the kitchen and play food into a prime position for play. They’ll enjoy rediscovering all those things that have been forgotten about for ages.
4. NEW ADDITIONS
With uncertainty surrounding how long we may be advised to stay at home, it’s an opportune time to update their toy box. We are sure our kids will have more screen time under lockdown, but there are physical gaming alternatives that they will love just as much, like Art Out Of The Box. Consider investments in open-ended toys too like Wobbel and Grimm’s, which are great for all ages. They really are worth every penny, fuelling children’s imaginations in ways you couldn’t imagine.
5. INTERACTIVE CLASSES
There is a total shutdown on little ones socialising out of the house, but it isn’t stopping people from innovating quickly, changing the way they offer services to children. Hartbeeps at Home has launched on youtube and Rhyme Time is emailing its classes out weekly. Numerous Personal Trainers including Lauren Drinkwater and Little Gym are streaming family exercise classes online and teachers are offering free lessons for all ages via Zoom. As a team, we are blown away by the small businesses rising up through this and for always thinking of the kids. There’s tonnes of other exciting at-home classes listed on the Online Classes for kids Facebook group and www.clubhubuk.co.uk, check them out.
There is no denying that this shift in life is a challenge. It’s unnerving and it’s unknown, but we can have some control and take charge of our own homes. As parents ourselves, our wish at KIDLY is for us all to be able to make the days easy and fun with our kids, despite the difficult circumstances. From us, to you: we can do this.