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How to entertain your kids at home
For many Australian employees, family life and work life have never been as closely integrated as they are right now.
With the current situation, we are seeing:
- Zoom meetings including cameo appearances from our kids or pets
- Virtual glimpses of our colleagues living rooms and choice of decor
- The average working day for parents including a healthy dose of the cartoon ‘Bluey’ and a couple of local walks for household sanity!
Clearly, managing children who would otherwise be at daycare, school or on non self isolating school holidays has become one of the greatest challenges for working parents.
It can be a colossal juggling act, with loaded levels of stress and anxiety, which has resulted in parents working later at night.
What if work and family life did not have to feel like separate entities – and what if you didn’t have the guilt of juggling competing priorities and being a parent?
Here are some tips to keeping the children entertained during isolation and working from home – remember that this is all a work in progress for everyone, so be kind to yourselves as parents and learn from what is working for your household!
Tip 1: Remember that you are not working from home, but you are home during a crisis trying to work
The first step to managing the outcome of the parent/work juggle at home, is to realign your expectations of what is achievable. If you are expecting a working day that exactly mirrors a normal day in the office, plus your children being as educated and entertained as they would if school or childcare were open – you are setting yourself up for failure.
A good approach here is to jot down a few of your expectations for the week ahead that might include:
- What are your key deliverables for the working week – and can you be flexible with when they are delivered?
- What is on the agenda for the kid(s) this week (homeschooling topics/general entertainment), and what would the best times be for this for everyone?
- What are your realistic expectations for both, and how can you structure the week to achieve both?
By mapping out a set of expectations for the week – rather than some concrete goals that won’t be achieved – you can feel somewhat in control of what you have expected to achieve, and it gives you a flexible type of structure that allows for changes, which will always be the case with work and home life!
Tip 2: Virtual engagement
So many businesses, schools and service providers have essentially turned into virtual service providers overnight – dance classes, karate classes, choir practice, school, kindergarten, childcare activities and exercise classes have been extremely popular over the last few weeks, as methods of keeping children socially and educationally engaged during lockdown.
During tip 1 (above), a nice way of planning out the week is to map out any appointments or classes in the timetable, and pop these down in a weekly timetable on the fridge or somewhere convenient to avoid missing any opportunities to engage and be entertained!
There are some brilliant school holiday program providers such as KidsCo, that are also providing virtual activities for kids over school holidays (and extending into the home schooling period) – with fun sessions such as arts and crafts, spelling bees, maths challenges and story time, depending on age and interests of the children.
If you don’t have regular classes or services that are offering virtual versions of these just yet, there are several fantastic resources available on platforms like YouTube, ABC Kids and 9 Life that have virtual offerings available in a channel like format. Google a few topics or classes that you are after, and you will find thousands of options and these can be applied in a weekly timetable as mentioned.
Tip 3: Get creative in your home
Finally, whilst lockdown opens up the opportunity to really increase the virtual access to classes and services for your children, it also provides a nice time to encourage the children to appreciate the simpler things in life – around the house, in the garden, and in the local area as allowed.
Cooking, food preparation and baking are all fantastic, therapeutic, mindful activities to engage the family (and children of any age in), as not only do they provide a tasty finished product, but they help to educate and remind families of the art of sourcing and enjoying food.
With extra time saved with no commuting, school drop offs and sports training, it’s a great time to slow down, plan meals that the children can help with, teach some baking skills that may have not been shared yet, and avoid the normal rushed dinner plans or Uber Eats!
In addition to this, gardening, planting herbs or vegetables, or getting the children to help out with some chores (you may require pocket money or bribes to kick this off!) can actually be quite rewarding for children, and a nice lesson in appreciating the things that are often taken for granted in our usual, busy world that we live in.
These 3 tips can get you started on structuring up some level of boundaries and expectations for the whole family, and make sure you continue to communicate with schools, childcare or sports/dance clubs to see what is available.
Blog post written by Pinnacle Health Group. Visit their website: https://pinnaclehealthgroup.com.au/.
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