Guidance & Ideas for parents who are socially distancing with children
Establish a daily routine. Routines provide reassuring structure and purpose for children and families. Include a mix of learning, creative, physical and relaxation time and schedule time for ‘electronics’ if this is important for your child. Help your child make a visual timetable so everyone understands the plan.
Make time for physical activity. Encourage your child outside if you can and rediscover garden games such as swing ball, skipping and tennis. If you can’t get outside suggest your child makes an indoor obstacle course or follows an online exercise programme. The BBC and ITV are adding fitness programmes to their broadcast schedules. There are also a multitude of free videos and fitness instructions online provided you have internet access.
Work on personal care skills. Identify self-care tasks that your child would like to do more independently, for example tying shoelaces or getting dressed. Look online for ideas about how to break the task down into manageable parts or for different approaches to make the task easier.
Develop life skills. Now is a great time for your child to master useful life skills such as preparing their lunch, using a washing machine and changing the sheets on a bed. Involve other family members in teaching skills (perhaps via video link) or use online tutorials which ensure that instructions are given consistently. Older children could complete online courses in first aid or start to learn another language.
Create a suitable place for your child to study which is different to their relaxation space. Ideally your child should have an appropriately sized chair and table, but if they must use adult furniture make sure they can sit so that their feet can be firmly planted and their shoulders relaxed when working at the table.
Teach your child to type. Typing is a valuable skill for education, social communication and for the workplace. There are a variety of free and paid-for online typing tutorials available – choose the one that works best for your child.
Rediscover creative activities such as playdough, junk modelling, Lego and origami.
Spend social time together as a family. Play board games, watch a film, make a cake, play multiplayer console games together. Schedule mealtimes and commit to these as adults, especially if you are working from home. They are a useful time to connect socially as a family.
Keep in touch. Arrange for your child to spend time each day talking to friends or family members on the phone or by social media (with adult supervision where appropriate). Write letters to older family members and maybe your child will receive one in return.
Look after yourself. Being a full-time parent/carer whilst managing a household and handling work responsibilities is challenging. Make sure you eat and sleep well, and include time for your own rest and leisure in your daily routine.