The last year has been incredibly tough on everyone, but especially so for parents. Not only are they juggling all the normal demands of parenthood, but many have had to manage long periods of homeschooling or remote learning as well as trying to do their own jobs at home too. Couple that with many of the normal places you would take children closing down to reduce the spread of the COVID-19 virus and not being able to spend as much time, if any, with family and friends, and well, you have the perfect stressful situation.
As parents, many of us feel like we have to be in action all day, every day. We plan and set up elaborate activities and games for our children, to compensate for the time missed in school or with their friends and other family members. While that is commendable, of course, it is also exhausting, and both parent and child sometimes need a break. That is why it is vital that part of your day - and your child’s day - has some downtime built into it. Here, we look at some ways of implementing downtime into your children’s daily routine.
Screen time is not the enemy
Screen time is not inherently bad. In fact, in moderation, using screens can be beneficial to children and help them with development. Of course, we are not suggesting putting them in front of YouTube videos of children opening boxes all day, but some kids’ TV shows or documentaries can be very educational and interesting. There is plenty of choice of things to watch through Troypoint if you need more inspiration or the latest things to stream.
We all know that reading is an incredibly important thing for children to do, so try to build in periods of quiet reading at least once a day, if not more. After breakfast and after lunch are good times to do this. Snuggle up on the couch with a sofa, build a den with fairy lights and sit in there or head outside under a tree and read for twenty minutes or so. Encourage your children to read by themselves - even younger children could look through picture books independently. Take your own book and read a chapter or two and model how reading for pleasure is a wonderful thing to do.
Have a quiet box
Have a box of toys and items that you keep for times when you all need to slow down and be a little quieter. Make some homemade lavender scented playdoh for a quiet sensory experience, pop in some simple jigsaw puzzles or wooden pegboards or good old coloring books and crayons. Mindful coloring is a big thing now, and again, you can show them how it is beneficial for everyone. These activities can give you a chance to sit together and work through activities while quietly chatting.
While keeping your children entertained and occupied is important, it is also essential that you and they have plenty of time to relax and indulge in some quiet and enjoyable activities. Hopefully, this post has given you a few ideas. Do you have any to add?