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Barnardos Children’s Charity has released some guidance for parents following the most recent decision to close schools and crèches across the country until March 29.
As parents look ahead to a number of weeks at home with their children, the worry about cabin fever setting in is a valid one and many are wondering how they are going to keep their child occupied.
If you are at work, you can share this information with whoever is minding your child and for up to date information about Covid-19 visit: https://www2.hse.ie/conditions/coronavirus/coronavirus.html
Look after yourself. As a parent this can be a very stressful time and days can start to feel very long. Try to create some quiet time for yourself. This might be enjoying a cup of tea, taking 3 deep breathes and feeling your feet on the ground. Remember you are doing a great job!
Maintain a daily routine. A consistent daily routine is very important for children and young people as it creates a sense of stability and predictability. Even though they may complain about going to school or crèche, most children will miss their usual routine and might be out of sorts as a result. Try to keep the days structured with consistent mealtimes, playtime, bedtime etc. Involve your child in creating a new daily routine, which you can agree together. This can be in writing or picture form depending on the age of your child.
Keep Active. If your child is spending a lot of time indoors, it is a good idea to include movement activities during the day. This can be dancing to music, playing games like Simon Says, or even helping with housework.
Keep in touch. Spending time with others is important for our emotional wellbeing. Your child will most likely be missing their friends and extended family members during long periods at home. Consider ways you and your child can stay in touch with those important people in your lives. Social media in particular can play an important role for older children in staying connected with friends. For younger children, video calls might be the way to go.
Keep learning. Some schools have shared lesson plans and resources so children can keep up with their schoolwork. There are many other ways you can support your child’s learning depending on your child’s age and interests. This might be the time for you to teach your child some practical life skills such as cooking, sewing or gardening.
Family time. Look at this time as an opportunity to carry out some of those activities with your child that you never get around to such as creating a family album or reorganising their bedroom. Think back to when you were younger, how did you like to spend your time? Ask your child for ideas, do they enjoy art, board games, puzzles or pretend play. Have a treat night and watch a family movie.