With schools closed in NSW and Victoria, and childcare restricted to authorised workers in Victoria, many children will be at home for the next few weeks. And with their usual creative and physical outlets – libraries, sport, playgroups, and other public places – now cut off, families want to be innovative in the ways they interact with kids in the home.
Children have experienced trying to stay safe from the virus for 18 months now.
Use Zoom, Facetime, or Skype to keep in touch with family and friends, both local and overseas to stay social, and maintain friendships and relationships when you can’t be together.
How to keep kids engaged and parents sane
Keep a routine. Giving children a structure to each day will help them feel more secure, and it gives parents and caregivers a routine to work around. Try to do the things you would normally do, including your showering/bathing routine, keeping consistent mealtimes, and restricting recreational access to screens, having at least some screen-free time each day, as you would at other times.
If possible, ensure that everyone in the family has time and space to retreat and have alone time. It is challenging to be in a confined area with the same people for extended periods of time. Maintaining your mental health is important at times like these.
Find time for children to get fresh air and sunlight. This may be as simple as spending some time in the backyard or on the balcony. If you live in a place where you can’t get outside, open your curtains and windows if you can, and let the natural light in.
Children thrive on parental attention
For both parents and children, it’s important to remember, the lockdowns won’t last forever. This period of time may be difficult, but it will pass as Australia speeds up its vaccination rates, providing protection for those vaccinated against hospitalisation and death. With strong vaccination rates, we can be confident into 2022 that we can protect the most vulnerable members of society.
In this time ask them if they just want to share, or if they want you to help them to find a solution. Children don’t always want advice, sometimes being heard is enough. If you or your children need further support, please reach out to a trained professional such as a psychologist, social worker or GP.