When you can’t leave the house, it’s important to look after your wellbeing. It might seem overwhelming, but if you have a list of varied activities for your children to try, the days will fly by. “Encourage children to learn new skills, things to do, not just to know,” says Public Health Practitioner Claire Cheminade. “There are so many things we can do at home that are fun and good for us,” she adds.
Here are a list of activities that put your child’s mental health first.
Connect with other people
This is really challenging in the current circumstances as we are ‘social distancing’ and need to physically stay away from people. However, we are in an age of digital connectedness and we can use the internet and phone to keep in touch with each other. We can even invite family and friends to socialise via video apps, including FaceTime or Whatsapp.”
Write a list of the people to make contact with every day/every few days.
- Ask them how they are
- Share what you have been learning
- Write them letters, or a poem
- Draw them pictures
- Send them photos
Travel the World
We may not be able to leave the house, but we can find out about people in other countries and visit the world from home.
Chose a new country to visit, virtually, every day. Learn the things that are special about the new places you go to….
- What animals live there?
- What is special about the place and its people?
- What do they eat?
- Which continent is it?
- Identify its location on a map
- What is its climate like?
- What other interesting facts did you learn?
Be physically active
Being active is not only great for your physical health and fitness it’s good for feeling mentally well too.
You can do a yoga workout on YouTube at home, learn a new yoga pose each day, or master a more challenging pose depending on your yoga skills!
You could Watch YouTube and learn a dance!
Take notice (mindfulness)
There is so much to pay attention to all around us, all the time. Even in a city you can enjoy singing blackbirds and starlings, magnolia trees in full bloom and even winter bumblebees. So, look up or out of the window and take notice of all the beautiful and wonderful things everywhere.
Learn about a different tree every day.
There is nothing more peaceful to do than sitting by the window or in your garden watching the birds. See if you can spot different ones and have a go at trying to identify a bird by the sound it makes They all have such different characters. Watch, listen and identify! Have a go yourself!
Take some time each day to watch the sky in the day and at night. When you look at the sky in the day, watch the clouds. Can you spot different patterns? Draw a picture of the clouds or imagine that you can see pictures in the different shapes. Learn about the moon and its phases. Make some time to have a look for it each night. Maybe draw a picture of what you see. See if you can spot stars you recognise and give them names. Older children can try to spot different constellations.
Mindfulness is about having some quiet time with yourself, to just sit for a while and see what is going on. You can explain it to children by saying it’s a bit like looking outside in the morning to see what the weather is doing. You see what the weather pattern is like inside you. This helps you to know what you need that day. So, if it’s raining outside, you know you need an umbrella. If you’re feeling stormy inside, you ask yourself what you need – maybe that’s to be on your own for a bit, or to ask for a hug or to do some exercise.
Children may not be at school, but they can still learn the topics they would have been covering in the classroom. And they can learn new skills that will help them in everyday life. Cooking is fun and enjoyable, as well as being a relaxing activity to enjoy together. And don’t forget it uses maths, communication and science skills. Like cooking, getting into the garden is a great way to chill out. Being outside, we can connect to nature, hang out with birds and spot new bugs and plants.
Set up a veggie patch or a little garden or grow some plants inside on a windowsill. Plant some seeds, watch them grow, check on them every day. Write notes or take a picture to keep track of how things are doing.
Read, read, read! Or listen to a story....
Learn a poem by heart every day….
And try some fun activities based on your favourite books.
Give to others
This is a tricky one with social distancing, but we can still give people our time without being physically close to them. Check on people and make sure they are okay. We can also give people some of the things we create – our cooking and the vegetables we have grown.”