More Tips To Avoid The Dreaded ‘I’m Bored’ When At Home With The Kids
First Things First
Looking after your kids while they're at home is a balancing act. While usually they may have activities to break up the day—sport, friends and clubs—during times of In the first instalment of this blog we looked at ways to plan your time while the kids are at home. Now, we will take a deeper dive into what works best for the different age groups.
There are different age groups in any family, sometimes amongst the kids as well! Because of this, we understand it might be a daunting task to organise different activities for every age group. You can work around this with a little creativity. This is a perfect time to get the older kids more involved; give them responsibility for their siblings, something they are capable of with a bit of support. Giving kids responsibility is a great lesson, something they appreciate and respond to (most of the time, that is).
Include all age groups in a family discussion about how to plan the days. It’s essential to listen to what they say. Like with a team at work, results are far better when everyone feels listened to.
One of the first activities they can contribute to is a schedule. Let one of the older siblings organise this, possibly even as the secretary at the first meeting. They then can meet with you and to discuss the notes they have taken. Guide them through your decision process and ask their opinion. This is a great opportunity to encourage essential listening skills. It is also an opportunity for your eldest child to feel they are taking a serious role in the family.
The family meeting should involve creating a promissory box. Here, they kids get a chance to choose their own rewards for achievements or good behaviour. This could include choosing the next meal, extra time on their favourite activity, or watching a movie they love. You could also organise a ‘self-soothe’ box, full of activities they can do when they're bored, need a distraction or don’t know what they want. Make one for each child, depending on their age.
Activity Tips for 2-5 Year Olds
While targeted towards the little ones, these are activities that everyone can participate in. Have a plan, be prepared, get supplies and remember a plan can always be changed!
Throw a dance and sing party. You or an older sibling can put together a medley of their favourite tunes. Include the soundtracks of their favourite TV shows and films.
Set up finger painting, hand and foot painting. Don’t forget to display their efforts! Framing their favourites will ensure you can cherish the memory for years to come.
Create a treasure hunt. Hide items they will recognise. This is a bit like an Easter egg hunt, but uses familiar items from around the home. A reward at the end will motivate them to stay engaged.
Build a bird feeder with your child and spend some quiet time bird watching. These can be made from around the house items, check here for some ideas and directions.
Have quiet time with a game of cards or flashcards for the younger ones. There are so many different types to choose, like this fabulous What Am I? Game.
A cute card game for curious kiddos.
Have fun making Play Doh. There are plenty of recipes for it online.
To burn off some of that excess energy encourage them to do an exercise routine designed for toddlers. Having a teddy bears' picnic, playing dress ups, and watering the plants together are all great activities.
Activity Tips for 6-11 Year Olds
Some of the above activities work as well for this age group. A scavenger hunt around the home and garden can help burn off some energy. Take a look at thefestiveco.com to find ready activity sheets.
Let them build things, a dual exercise in learning and fun. They could build a solar system or explore chemistry. Make a bouncing ball or explore what you can design with Lego. Check out Gifts Australia for more ideas on age appropriate board games and building sets.
Children of this age need around 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise a day. Keep the kids moving where you can. Try bat and ball games, homemade obstacle courses and a session of a fun exercise video.
Try not to let them spend more than two hours a day in front of a screen. How about a fun skipping rope, a game of cricket, football or running races in the garden?
Make sure there are plenty of books to read and don’t forget to read with them. The purpose of activities is not to shunt the kids out of sight. Ok, it is important you have your own time too. But this is an opportunity to make a relationship with your children. Do things with them, relax, don’t set a target just have fun.
Teach them the games you used to play before technology took over, card games, board games, ‘I-Spy’ and ‘Which is the lie’.
It is not all about keeping them away from their online games or TV, but about the proportion of time spent. Nothing wrong with a night of old DVDs or Netflix and plenty of popcorn!
Activities Tips For Teenagers
Perhaps the most difficult group. The teenage years are when the process of moving away from the family is starting. It's also the time they start to take more control of their lives. Now, that's all on hold for the teenagers in your family. So how can you help to make this time as peaceful and rewarding as possible?
Make time to talk with them, share some of your concerns about how you will all cope. Ask their advice. Insist on them being part of family meetings; they could even lead one. Listen to their fears. Allow time with friends if the national restrictions permit it. Ensure they are fully aware of the social distancing regulations and why they are important.
Give them responsibilities like:
Creating the promissory box
Overseeing some of the younger kids' school work
Reading to the younger kids
Making a meal
Being responsible for specific household jobs
It is also important to give them some alone time and ensure the younger ones respect their space.
This is an activity for any age group. If you don't have a garden, make a window box or grow plants in a plastic bottle. Once again, YouTube offers some great ideas for how to grow simple plants like mung beans.
If you do have a garden, give the kids a patch of their own. Let them water and weed, or perhaps trim the hedges if they are old enough. This is another great way to spend time together and get your garden ready for winter.
Time for Bed
Last but not least, make sure everyone has enough sleep. Everyone gets grouchy when sleep-deprived. Keep an eye on those with technology in their rooms... Make sure their devices get switched off at night! Keep to a routine during the week with the option to be a bit more flexible on the weekends.
Take this time as an opportunity to get to know your kids better. Stress and frustration may boil up as you spend more time together than ever, but use it as a learning experience. Talk to your kids about how to deal with their emotions in a healthy way. Create time out, for everyone, not just the kids. Respect each other’s need for space and you will only get through this time stronger as a family.