Coronavirus – Resources for Families in Isolation
With the spread of coronavirus having an impact on people worldwide, we have been discussing the implications this has for young children’s education. There will no doubt be temporary closures of early learning services. There will also be families (and educators) who due to exposure to the virus, or other risk factors need to self-isolate in order to prevent transmission of the virus.
With the inability to be out and about in the community, parents will surely find this a challenging time. With no trips to the local playground, no visiting malls or other public places and no interacting with people outside of their immediate family, it is likely that families will struggle to come up with ways to keep young children busy.
It is also important to remember that children may have heard the adults in their lives talking about the virus for some time now. It is hard to avoid the impact it is having on the world and children will be noticing that things are different. They may be a little confused, scared, and stressed without having a good understanding of what coronavirus actually is. Here is a fantastic video from NanoGirl that explains in simple terms, what exactly the virus is, and how we can keep ourselves healthy.
Advice for parents that might help in your time of isolation
- Try to maintain a structure to each day. This structure will not only mean children feel secure, and know what is happening next, it will also allow parents/caregivers to have a routine to work around.
- Within this structure, allow plenty of time for children to engage in uninterrupted play.
- Consider having a list of go-to activities reserved for days and times where children might be feeling a little antsy and cooped up.
- Ensure that everyone in the family has time and space to retreat and have some “alone time”. Looking after your mental health is very important during times like this. Being in a confined area with the same people, for extended periods of time, will no doubt be challenging!
- Where possible, find time for children to get regular doses of fresh air and sunlight. Living in an apartment or in a space where it is impossible to get outdoors? Open your curtains and windows if you can, and let the natural light in.
- Use Zoom, Facetime, Skype or Google Meet to “hang out” with others and maintain friendships and relationships when you can’t be together.
- Try to squeeze in some family exercise each day. YouTube is a wonderful resource for online yoga and dance videos. And there are some great research-based exercise ideas on the Kid Do website where parents can create a free account.
- Learn a family dance routine and film it on your phone!
- Give children responsibilities and jobs around the house. Time to wipe all the door frames in the house down? Weed the garden? Dust the skirting boards? Need to teach the cat tricks? You can bet an energetic young person will LOVE having work to do!
- Try and find ways to make this seem like an adventure. Can you pretend you are pirates stranded on a deserted island? Has there been a zombie apocalypse and your home is the only safe place in the entire world? Are you princesses and princes who have been locked inside your castle and you cannot escape until the golden key is found? This could be a great time to reconnect with your inner child and let your imagination run wild.
- Could this be time to learn a new hobby or research a topic of interest? Origami? Paper plane designs? The dietary habits of prehistoric creatures? Now is your time to dig deep into something you or your children are really interested in.
- “Listen” to stories on Spotify. Children’s imaginations can go wild listening to some old classics that you enjoyed as a child. Bad Jelly the Witch is a fantastic place to start.
- Be prepared for your days to possibly look “messy” in some ways. A messy play area can often be considered a great play area. When children are busy, a mess can ensue. Set an alarm for regular intervals to signal it is time to reset the space if you like?
What to do if children are feeling anxious
We hope some of these ideas are helpful during this time of uncertainty. We’ve also put together a blog post of activity ideas for preschoolers to do at home. Always remember to look after yourself, self-care is so important at this time. Eat and sleep well, and reach out to your learning community for support if you are finding this difficult. It takes a village to raise a child, so remember that although you may be physically alone, you are only a message away from everyone.