As we enter the festive season of 2020, it’s safe to say that much of this year has been a truly unprecedented time for many families. With many of the things we previously took for granted (being able to go to friends’ houses, not having to queue for the shops, etc) now providing a new restriction for how our children would usually socialize and play, it’s important that we don’t fall into the trap of our children being inactive themselves.
With no precise timeline in place as to when restrictions will be lifted we need to start thinking about ways that we can, even in these restricted times, keep our children’s sense of play and adventure alive.
Here’s 5 areas I believe we as parents can start to bring into our new “day to day.”
Get healthy, together
If there’s been one positive over lockdown and the previous few months, it’s that more and more people are starting to reflect on what better physical and mental health could mean for them.
Getting healthy doesn’t need to be a solo activity. Personally, I’ve found myself taking to the bike like I never would have imagined, and getting yourself one of the best child bike trailers means that your little ones can also enjoy the ride with you.
You could even create a bike “passport” of all the new areas you can explore together, with the kids able to check off some of the key landmarks on the way.
Reframe indoor play
For many, the thought of ‘soft play indoors’ might be a nightmare waiting to happen, but getting some soft cushions and some extra protective padding means that even a great soft play session is achievable.
And it doesn’t have to just stop at soft play. How we re-think our home spaces a little to activate more play is key.
I’ve known dads to incorporate play techniques when it comes to chores for instance, and looking at simple learning opportunities in our day to day will not only make the day go faster, but means that even some of the most boring routines can start to bring a little more joy all-round.
A movie night like no other
It’s safe to say that the TV and various online streaming services have likely been a godsend for many trying to balance more restrictions with more work deadlines and other key tasks that haven’t gone away despite the overall restrictions. But why not try and make TV time less mundane, and create a special movie night for you and the kids?
Perhaps incorporate it into a weekly reward, where the kids get the choose the treats, or think about a film that relates to something important upcoming – a remembrance day, an important Christmas message, or simply one about being thankful and grateful. The power of films can be an amazing lesson for many children, and something that really stays in their minds.
How might you use this time to bring a little friendly family competition into your everyday?
Whether it be a card game, board game or a whole new made up family game – bringing the family together and keeping a tally of the score over-time can be a wonderful way for us all to have some quality family time, and who knows – it might just be a family tradition that’s here to stay even after all the restrictions are lifted?
I’ve heard of more families taking up indoor golf, or totally made up card games as ways to get the children active with their brains and constantly thinking. Perhaps there are ways you can also include writing and reading skills into the mix too?
This is a great time to dust off some of the old toys and games from your own childhood. You’ve probably seen on social media that more and more parents have found a new type of connection with their children by re-looking at some of their own older games/toys and telling stories from your own childhood in the process. You might just find that it brings out the inner-child in you too.
Overall, there’s a load of ways in which we needn’t think of a more restricted time as a boring time for our children. If anything we need to find new ways to be creative, active and keep their brains and bodies as active as possible. Whatever you do, make sure this festive season is one of good learning and even better fun.