Tips &

Tips &

Half-term hacks for harassed parents!

May 2021
Janthea Brigden
More Tips & Tales

This lockdown has felt like forever! Home schooling has put so much pressure on parents teachers and children that mental health referrals have gone through the roof! Now, more than ever, we need to be kind to ourselves as parents, in order to be able to give our children the support and acknowledgement they need.

Many schools have started 'Wellbeing Wednesdays' with ideas for how parents and children can work together to keep the stress at bay and stay connected and positive.

These ideas include breathing exercises, yoga, baking, drawing, dancing together, singing, painting, meditating, jigsaw puzzles and even knitting and crocheting! The internet is full of ideas and suggestions.

Sometimes it feels too overwhelming to do any of it and that's okay too, because maybe everyone just needs a few pyjama days to reboot the brain's sense of security and safety.

Asking the children what they would like to do if it wasn't for lockdown, is a good way to get creative. Maybe you can't go on holiday at the moment, or to the cinema or bowling alley, but is there a way you could do these things at home?

Here are a few thoughts and ideas.

I want to see my friends!

Organise a Zoom call with a difference, play some party games that translate easily like Pictionary or Hangman (using the whiteboard), Simone says or Captain's Coming - your children will probably know several games from school. Keep it to an hour so they leave wanting more and you aren't exhausted hosting it. (See Nipperbout's Virtual Childcare video for ideas)

I'm bored with the same walk!

Set up a scavenger hunt around your regular walk; include some landmarks they may not have noticed and google some facts to ask as questions about eg : This building used to be a school - True or false?

I want to go to the cinema/ bowling!

Have a family movie night with popcorn and cinema food, or set up a bowling alley with tin cans or empty milk cartons.

Why can't we go on holiday?!

Pick a country and cook a meal from that country, help the children to make some themed place mats and paper hats to wear. For an educational slant get everyone to google one fact to share at the meal table or a song to sing or related story/poem to read.

Why not have a family "camp in" night and sleep together in the lounge, watch a movie, play charades or take it in turns to tell each other one thing that’s really important to you in your life?

I'm BORED!!!!

  • Have a suggestion jar and get everyone to put in something they’d like to do. Take one thing out every day and think about how it could be achieved.
  • Have one person sit as the ’subject’ and everyone else draw the subject.
  • Get the everyone in the family to write some bullet points about something they feel passionate about and give a little talk about it (5 mins each).  Treat it like a professional ‘pitch’ event so everyone is listened to and applauded at the end.
  • Make a little ‘first aid kit’ for each family member for when they are upset or annoyed. Ask the children what they would like in their kit and gather those things together .  If it’s a breathing exercise, then write down the instructions and make it into a poster to put in the kit, if it's a hot chocolate or a cup of tea - put a tea bag or packet of hot chocolate in the kit.  If it's drawing, find some crayons and a soothing picture ready to colour, if it's a jigsaw or a teddy, put those into the 'kit'. Give everyone a carrying bag or box to keep their ’stress busting first aid kit’ tools in.  Keep the ‘kits’ somewhere handy so you can fetch them when needed. Note - make sure the adults have one too!
  • Research some breathing exercises and do these together. For little ones - 'sniff the flowers and blow out the birthday cake', is my favourite!
  • Google some first aid workshops and practise bandaging each other - you never know when this might come in handy!
  • Have a DIY dinner - Buy some pizza bases and put out some bowls with different  toppings.  Get some wooded skewers and different sorts of berries and grapes and let everyone make a ‘fruit kebab’ for pudding - served with natural yogurt or cream its a healthy, tasty desert!
  • Have a “Hurrah” list and get everyone to write down little wins they have had that day and have a time in the evening to read them out and celebrate with whoops and claps!

Thumbnail & banner photo credit: "medium-shot-family-having-fun-together_11103573" and "play-fight-sword-siblings-concept_3781240"