It’s a surreal time for all of us. The world as we know it has changed, and we have all been tossed into a state of uncertainty.
Corona virus went from being a distant news report that none of us could relate to, to being the deciding factor in every decision we make. Without warning, it swarmed our planet and took control of every single element of our lives, from where we go on holiday, to how often we see our own family.
Children can be adverse to change and a disruption of routine.
Last week’s decision to close schools will have caused a range of thoughts, feeling and emotions within our children and young people. Of course, the prospect of an extended Easter holiday sounds great, so excitement fuelled by an idyllic lack of understanding will have been a common reaction to the revelation! The onset of anxiety, laced with confusion may also have been another perception of the situation.
Every child is different, and some worry more than others.
Try to limit the amount of media coverage your child is receiving when it comes to the Coronavirus pandemic. Children retain more than we realise, especially when it comes to things that frighten them. If they sense that you are worried, their own fears will be heightened and they may fret and feel unable to translate this to you.
Children are inquisitive, and will ask questions for a variation of reasons, from curiosity to fear. Over-exposure to the grim facts is not beneficial to anybody, children in particular.
In a world that has suddenly been turned upside down for every single one of us, it is important that we retain a level of normality for the sake of our children and young people. Our mission is to allow them to continue their childhood journey with minimal impact from the outside affairs of the world affecting this precious time.
Every child deserves a childhood, and Coronavirus has absolutely no right to take this away from them. The schools might have closed, but their childhoods are still very much open, and we should strive to nurture and protect this.
Childhood should be defined by a blissful carefree existence – something we as adults look back upon both fondly and longingly.
Below are some ideas for making the most of your family’s extended time together while restrictions are in place across the country.
Have a disco in the living room –
Get the kids to create a playlist full of their favourite songs, turn the music up, push the sofas back, and have a dance!
You can enhance the ‘disco’ experience by serving up bowls of yummy snacks.
Dancing can be a great stress buster and will keep kids active with the added ingredient of maximum fun.
Re-discover the simple pleasures –
I often write about the most simplistic joys of childhood, such as enjoying the great outdoors.
Now is the perfect time to head into the depths of the countryside and immerse yourself in a world away from life. Travel back in time to your own childhood as you join your young person in feeding the ducks, rolling down hills and counting the daffodils as they seemingly spring up before your eyes.
Nature is a beautiful and gentle reminder that life goes on, even when the world is spun on its axis.
Staying in touch with nature during a lockdown -
If getting out and about is no longer an option, why not bring nature into the house?
Stock up on herb seeds and bulbs and encourage the kids to grow their own vegetables and flowers. Do you remember the simple thrill of growing cress when you were younger?
There’s something wholesome and joyous about eating home-grown produce, no matter how small, and kids will thrive upon the pride of their own growths.
Stand by the windowsill and count birds. Double points for anyone who spots the most exotic looking bird amongst the pigeons!
No cinema? No problem!
Why not spend the afternoon making popcorn with the kids in preparation of a very special movie night with a difference?
Who needs to leave the house to go to the cinema when you can enjoy the cinematic experience in the comfort of your own home, in your PJS?!
Drag down the blankets and the kid’s cuddly toy collection, draw the curtains, turn down the lights, and agree on a line-up of everyone’s favourite films to watch back to back throughout the evening.
Travel within your own home –
Research different countries with your children, discussing an array of cultures, foods and languages.
Dedicate an evening to setting up a number of food stations to reflect the delicacies of a variety of countries. You could even teach your children how to say ‘thank you’ in five different languages, and have them practise as they sample the foods.
(You might have to put the pasta dishes on hold for a while though!)
Get your bake on!
The possibilities for baking inventions are endless! From cookies and muffins to show-stopping cakes and pastries, encourage kids to get creative and see what you can conjure up!
Kids, write your recipes down and share them with your friends. You could even pretend to be on the Bake Off, and ask mum or dad to help you make a vlog, showing each step of your brilliant baking and the fabulous results!
Host sport’s day in the garden –
Kids: rope in mum, dad and your siblings for an afternoon of competitive fun!
It’s amazing how many household items can double up as sport’s day equipment.
Egg and spoon? Check!
An old sack? Check!
Beanbags/ beanie soft toys? Check!
You could even incorporate some of your own ideas into the event, such as seeing who can do the most keepie-upeies with the football, or who can hula-hoop for the longest!
Make certificates, buy plastic medals, and host an awards ceremony once the results are in!
Create a cosy reading nook –
Children will be more encouraged to read if they have somewhere cosy and quiet to sit.
Dedicate a corner of the living room or the bedroom to floor cushions, comfy throws and a cool lamp. Fill the space with stories, and watch your bookworm evolve under the treasured escape of imagination.
Reading is a healthy pastime for all of us. It beholds the ability to transport us to another world, and sometimes, that is all that is needed to restore some faith.
Look to the future –
Have the kids create a scrap book or bucket list of all of the things they are looking forward to once this bizarre scenario has passed. They could devise a list of countries they hope to travel to in the future, or a restaurant they wish to visit for their birthday.
None of us know how long this is going to last, but we can retain some positivity by looking forwards and searching for the light at the end of the tunnel.
Encourage creativity -
Art is therapy, and a great form of self-expression.
Children are often able to express their feelings through the aid of drawing or writing poems and stories.
Buy colouring books, scrap paper and craft packs galore, and ensure that they are always accessible.
You may discover the next Lowry or JK Rowling under your very own roof!
The only positive to come out of this worrying situation is the invaluable gift of time.
In a roundabout way, we have been granted additional time to spend with our families. For those with children, I know the prospect of having them at home for at least 12 weeks has provoked a mixed bag of reactions, but try to see the benefits. You have that extra time to watch your children grow before your eyes – not everybody gets that chance, so endeavour to relish every single second.
Cara Jasmine Bradley