Wondering how to keep the kids entertained AND work from home? Rest assured you are not alone! With the uncertainty over school closures, parents around the country are wondering the same thing. 

Portrait Of Four Brothers And Sisters Lying In Garden At Home

Whilst it may be tempting to plop your child in front of the television so you can have some peace and quiet, it is important for your child to have structure, remain active and spend time outside if possible. This doesn’t mean you need to take on the role of teacher 8 hours a day – balancing family responsibilities, your job and your own feelings during the COVID-19 pandemic is enough to be going on with! However, creating some sort of structure for your family will not only help you cope with this new situation, it will provide your child with the security they need to minimise any anxiety they may be experiencing too. 

Where do I start?

Start by agreeing on a time that everyone needs to be awake, showered and dressed, ready for the day. If they have received any school work or are required to attend online classes, make sure to highlight these on your planner. Set aside some time for a family lunch, including time for you to prepare the meal together. Designate time for outdoor play if you have a garden or other outdoor area (if you are required to isolate from others, make sure to adhere to the latest advice from the relevant authorities). Specify times during which your child may watch television or use devices. This will help you to set some limits on your child’s screen time each day. 

Activities to keep your child entertained
  1. Backyard scavenger hunt. Hide items outside in the garden for your child to find. Write some clues describing the location of each item and give this to your child to use to locate each of the hidden items. This is also a great idea to use inside if it is raining or you don’t have a suitable outdoor space.
  2. Get gardening. Set some time aside for you and your child to spend tending to the garden or setting up a veggie patch of your own. Involving children in growing their own food has a positive impact on their food choices, by helping them to understand where natural healthy foods come from.
  3. Cook up a storm! Involving your child in the kitchen is a great way for them to continue to learn about the food they eat. Start with some simple recipes such as these Tropical Fruit Balls or Apple and Oat Pikelets.
  4. Work it out. Design your own fitness routine and include this in your daily schedule. You could include star jumps, push ups, jogging around the garden or lounge room if it is raining. Use some canned foods as mini-dumbbells and include these in some way too. If you are stuck for ideas, a quick search on YouTube will provide you with some free workouts with everything from yoga to dance classes. Even a game of musical statues makes for a great cardio workout!
  5. Get bowled over. Set up your own bowling alley at home with some spare toilet rolls and a ball. A long corridor is perfect for this activity. Take turns rolling the ball and see who can knock them all over quickest! Remember to wash your hands after each turn to minimise germ sharing. You can get our tips on washing your hands like a pro here. 

If your child expresses concern about COVID-19, please read our tips on talking to your child about Coronavirus now. 

It’s important to remember that you are not alone in learning to adapt to this strange new world. Be sure to check in regularly with friends, family and other parents in your network. If you need additional support, please contact Lifeline on 13 11 14If you are unwell, please call 13HEALTH (13 43 25 84). If you are in immediate danger, please call 000.

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