Keeping your family happy during lockdown

We don’t know about you but if you have kids and you have endured multiple lockdowns during the past twelve months with them as we have done, you might have started noticing a few more wrinkles and grey hairs appearing in your reflection as of late? Nobody asked for the situation we have all found ourselves in but here we are. The three of us have five boys between us (eight if you count their fathers) and some days it has felt like we live in a battleground rather than the picture perfect homes and lifestyles we all yearn for.

By Raman Sandhu

Without sports fixtures, play dates, eating out or just the chance to escape and have five minutes peace to ourselves, the days seem to drag endlessly, only really punctuated by the creation and clearing up operation of mealtimes. Is it just us or has your ‘special Mummy/Daddy’s drinks cupboard’ emptied as quickly as if it were New Years’ Eve every week? Actually, don’t mention New Years, it just reminds us of how boring this year’s was…
So, to help you out, we have come up with a few boredom busters that we have used to keep you all sane and keep the little terrors occupied whilst you attempt to get some work done/reading/time to yourself.

  1. Establish a routine. Whether they admit to it or not, children love and need a routine. Hash out a quick timetable that works for you all, establishing a balance of work, play and eating times (so they know they cannot eat ALL the time).
  2. Get outside. Yes, the weather is miserable at this time of year but whenever there is a dry day, wrap up warm and just get some fresh air. Sitting in a stale living room under piles of school books and laptops isn’t good for anyone. It will help to remind everyone there is still a world out there. Here in our corner of Surrey we are incredibly lucky to have so many green, outdoor spaces on our doorstep. Head to the Areas section of the website to give you some inspiration.
  3. Talk. We are all feeling low; some more than others. Get talking about how you feel so that we can let our emotions out and feel less alone in this. At dinner maybe discuss what you felt low about AND what you achieved/learnt/were grateful for that could even be as something as little as the fact that Dad made a roast dinner!
  4. Exercise. With young, active boys of our own we know how important exercising is. Even if it does feel like a chore at the time, encouraging them to do even twenty minutes of a Joe Wicks workout, skipping or small circuits in the living room will help lift their mood and mental well-being. You might even want to join them!
  5. Eat and drink well. Get the kids involved in your meal planning. They can even pack a little snack bag for the day so they know how much they are allowed to eat rather than raiding the pantry all day long. As for meal times, ask them to help you prep or stack the dishwasher. We are all in this together and they might even pick up some life skills along the way.
  6. A jar of wishes. We have started using this as we can’t go out as much anymore. Excluding devices, give each member of the family a small piece of paper and they have to write one thing they would like to do as a family at home together. Then, at the weekend, we take these pieces of paper out at one at a time and fulfil them. (see below for ideas).
  7. Social Interaction. We know how terrible too much screen time can be, especially if they are learning remotely on a device of some sort but it is also important to give everyone in the family a bit of alone time to speak to other people outside of the family unit. They will see they aren’t the only ones going through this which is reassuring.
  8. Plan for the future. As a family discuss what you do miss or what you would like to do when life is ‘normal’ again. Where would you like to visit together? What activities or hobbies might you take up when everything is open again? Having things to look forward to creates a feeling of optimism

Ideas for the wish jar:

  • play a board game
  • create a den
  • complete a jigsaw puzzle
  • bake a cake/cookies
  • make something out of junk in the recycling boxes
  • assemble the (insert object here) that someone sent you for Christmas
  • look through old family photos and videos together
  • face time and hold a virtual tea party with grandparents/cousins etc who are alone
  • indoor scavenger hunts (pinterest is great for these ideas)
  • read a book to the kids
  • leave a quiz question or riddle out on the fridge door everyday and see who can answer it first?
  • turn your living room into a camp – sleeping bags, tents, midnight feasts – the lot!
  • create pebble art and leave them along your walk to make others smile
  • lego challenge
  • hide and seek