The shelter-in-place mandates are challenging parents and caregivers – how do we keep children entertained? Rush Copley Medical Group pediatricians shared activities they are enjoying with their own children and offer advice on talking to kids about the pandemic.
We love to do dance parties! We put on some music and dance and jump around. We also like to play Simon Says and Tickle Chase (parents are tickle monsters and kids try to dodge us) and make greeting cards for friends and family, including get well and birthday cards. We’re trying to have the kids help with cooking and food preparation, and we’re baking together, too. We just try to change it up often – changing activities frequently helps keep things fresh. TV time is in there but for set times and periods of the day.
We also play “neighborhood” using pop-up tents and our kids can make pillow forts and pretend to come over to each other’s houses to read, bring toys or even have a “sleepover.”
These are challenging times for families and young children. It is important to have a daily structure and routine, but with flexibility built in to adjust to changing weather, changing moods and changing circumstances. In addition to finding e-learning resources and homework from your child's school, be sure to have time throughout the day for movement and exercise.
Get fresh air outside while being mindful of social distancing. There are online resources for exercise for kids. Check out GoNoodle on YouTube and others. The news can be anxiety-provoking for children and adults, so it is important to check in daily with kids about how they are feeling. Online resources can help navigate tough questions you might face from kids. While there is plenty of time to play, try to involve kids in daily chores. A daily chore chart can help keep them organized and remind them of the importance of contributing.
To keep the kids busy, my family is enjoying Mo Willems Lunch Doodles (free online drawing sessions hosted by the children’s author and illustrator), indoor and outdoor scavenger hunts and FaceTime dates with friends. My girls love to put on plays and shows – my daughter was Elsa, of course! We even took a virtual field trip to see the hippos at Cincinnati Zoo.
Try some of these kid-tested ideas from our pediatricians with your family. Enjoy this time with your children to reconnect and support each other.