Keeping children entertained during self-isolation

Although you may be climbing the walls by the end of the week, in general, self-isolating on your own or with a partner can be quite easy. But what do you do if you’re also needing to focus on keeping children entertained during self-isolation?

Self-isolation is very simple with strict rules. If you are self-isolating, you must ensure you stay at home, unless you are exercising which can be done once a day while keeping 2 metres between yourself and others. You cannot go out to buy food or medicines – aim to get these supplies delivered by a courier, family or friends. In addition to this, friends and family must not visit you in your home.

As they can get bored very easily, keeping children entertained can be a challenge in itself so it’s no surprise that self-isolating with children is no piece of cake! Luckily, there’s an endless list of ideas to keep your little darlings busy. Here’s a few!

Whether your children are usually cared for by yourself, nursery/pre-school, or in full-time education, try to stick to the daily routine they’re already familiar with. Start with getting up and dressed in the morning to kick-start your day - your motivation will suffer if the whole self-isolation period is spent in your pyjamas.

If schoolwork has been set for your child, set an alarm on your device for when school would usually start. This is the time to create a learning environment with minimal distractions and complete some work. Your child may be more productive in the living room, reducing temptation from games and consoles that live in their bedroom. Go online to find educational live streamed videos to help your child while they are working from home, or use videos created by their education provider.

Many websites have resources that can be accessed for free online. Websites such as BBC Bitesize offer support collections for all age groups from 3-16+ years focusing on multiple topics. In addition, there are lessons available on certain subjects, for example Joe Wicks - The Body Coach, specifically for fitness and PE.

Keep in mind that children usually have a break at weekends, apart from the odd piece of homework that needs completing. If you have older children that are used to seeing friends, it’s likely they are mature enough to understand the reasons why it is prohibited while we are working to reduce the spread of Coronavirus. Remind them they can keep in contact via social media.

Young children won’t fully understand why going to the park, seeing family and enjoying their usual activities, such as visiting a soft play, isn’t possible. Depending on their age, try to explain in the best way you can, why they can’t be outdoors and continuing with the social activities they’re familiar with. Some parents have explained there’s a ‘bug’ outside that’s making people poorly - giving children a true reason why these rules are in place, while avoiding the inner details they wouldn’t understand. Older children can usually comprehend a more in-depth explanation.

Most parents and carers will already be aware that children love to get messy, and while it can sometimes be a challenge to clean up, messy play is extremely beneficial to the development of children in multiple age groups. Cooking, baking, painting and outdoor play are just a few examples of messy play - ensure your child is given the freedom to investigate each material used. Be sure to put protective covers over your carpets and soft furnishings first!

Keeping in line of the routines you and your family are used to, plan your daily activities in advance. If you’re struggling to find a way to keep your children entertained, a ‘plan of action’ may help to divide the day into different sections, relieving the strain on you as a parent or carer.