BY Rachel Codrington-Hopkins
Whilst schools remain open, restrictions mean our children are likely to be home with us a little more often.
Whether you’re blended learning, have your kids at home full time, or your children are just missing their usual weekend clubs and activities, we’ve got 12 ideas to help stave off boredom and lift the mood at home when family tensions start to rise.
1. Take a hike; or a bike ride, or a scooter ride. Play a game of tag. Being active outdoors is proven to boost your mood and guaranteed to get everyone’s feel-good endorphins flowing.
2. Get out into nature; spot bugs on the leaves, hide painted stones for other kids to find, chalk drawings on the pavement, giant leaf piles to jump in…the possibilities outside for a crisp autumn day are endless.
3. Table of enticement; when the kids have gone to bed set a table with something you think might interest them. It could be as simple as some paper, pine cones and glue; or an old board game or jigsaw they haven’t played with in a while. Don’t say anything when they wake next morning and see if it captures their imagination.
4. Three marker challenge; you will need paper, colouring pens and a timer. Pick an object to draw. Each child chooses three pens without looking. Set the timer for three minutes. They must draw and colour their objects using only their three colours in the time set.
5. Move time; every hour or two, stop what you’re doing and round up the kids for a quick five minute movement session…ask them to think up some weird and wonderful moves that will get you moving and laughing together.
6. Hug it out. We can be so busy going through the motions of the day that we forget the importance of connecting with each other on a physical level. Family hugs are an important ritual in our house when tensions start to rise; even the dog gets involved.
7. Bulletin Board of Dreams; has someone got a place or activity they’re missing or a dream of visiting somewhere new? Cut and stick pictures of the places you want to go and the things you want to do somewhere visible in your home and dare to dream big as a family as to how you might make it happen.
8. Follow their passions. What are your kids interested in? It might be YouTube videos, the latest app craze, Lego or dressing up. Whatever it is, do it with them for a little time each day…ten minutes is enough. Get curious about the things that interest them.
9. Let the den making recommence; you might have just got your house back to some semblance of normal since the children went back to school but I’m afraid it’s time to let it all go again.
10. Break out the crafts. We keep our art and craft supplies organised in a few of our Tillyanna Shoppers so they can be quickly accessed and moved easily from room to room.
11. Family movie night. If you want to take this one step further make it a costume themed family movie night. Invite the stuffed animals too.
12. Embrace the online gaming. Meeting up in online games or having video call playdates is a great way for children to socialise with friends. If you have enough devices available, it may free up some time for you to get on with your work; or try arranging a virtual playdate for a time when you can engage in some much needed self-care, like reading a book or having a bath.
Be kind to yourself and your children. We’re very good at keeping calm and carrying on here in the UK, but we must remember to cut ourselves and our families some slack.
Think of this time as a season; like all seasons it will pass. Until then, find the magic in the little moments and embrace the mess; it’s just a sign of all the fun your children are having with you at home.
We hope you've enjoyed some of these ideas, and do let us know if you try out any of them in your home!