As we listen to the daily news and witness the worldwide spread of the coronavirus pandemic, it’s sensible to try to prepare as best we can to stricter measures, in line with what has happened in other countries across the world. We know that school closures are likely to happen sooner or later. In this post, we will look at how to keep kids entertained, happy & learning during the coronavirus pandemic isolation and how to best plan ahead so you are ready.
I’m talking about planning ahead and implementing simple steps to make sure you have a plan A, B and C if you have to be at home with the kids for an extended period of time.
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What to consider ahead
I don’t know about you, but when I think about being at home with my kids for more than 1 week, the feeling of trepidation always joins the anticipation and happiness I initially feel! Don’t judge! Motherhood did not come naturally to me, even after 13 years, Its a lot easier to make any type of business decision than it is to decide if I should allow ice cream in the winter!
In business planning, I was taught to imagine the worst scenario and plan for that, if I could, then I would be ready for anything! If we apply that way of thinking here… what would be the worse scenario for you? This will vary for each person or family.
Even if your worst scenario is completely different than mine, we are still talking about staying home with the kids for a period of time, there are three main things, you should establish first so you can better plan for ways to keep kids entertained, happy & learning during Coronavirus pandemic isolation
- will you be working from home?
- will the kid’s school provide online learning?
- what’s the worst scenario and what will you need?
Email or phone your kid’s schools, if you have not heard from them yet, and ask for their plans for online learning. If they have a plan in place, that is great news! Your kids should then be able to follow that plan and will be kept busy during regular school hours, giving you time to do your work!
Let’s look at the positives so far… you are safe, can continue to work and get paid and your children are still learning. You are lucky!
Big BONUS – You can do all of this in your PJ’s!
Now that you know how your days are going to be filled, you can plan around those activities and make a list of what you will need.
getting kids to cooperate during the pandemic isolation
If your child/children are in school, I expect they will be 5 years or older. You can have a conversation and explain that this is not school holidays. That they will need to follow a schedule so you can still do your work. What works with my kids, is to get them involved in planning the structure of the days.
For example, what time should the first break be, how long should it be, what time do we have lunch… small decisions that will get them into agreeing with the final plan.
Giving background about the coronavirus
Giving background on why you have to stay home and why it is important to keep specific hygienic care and social distancing should also be part of the conversation. Kids are social media users and even if they are too young for social media, other kids will share all sorts of information in school, this can cause stress and anxiety and should be openly discussed at home.
get a structure
Is important that you start as you want to proceed. This is particularly important if you are expected to work from home while the kids are away from school. You will need that time to work and can’t spend all the time supervising them.
Plan to have agreed break times, as they do in school and spend that time with them, take a break too 🙂
As the kids grow older, it becomes harder to impose timings and restrictions and you might get quite a bit of push back! My daughter wanted to go for a sleepover next weekend… as much as I explained that I did not think now was an appropriate time to be doing sleepovers and that she should just be going to school and coming home, she really did not get it. If she was with her friends all day in school, why not be with them at night too?! So be prepared for a bit of back and forward.
Planning and more planning
Ok, so what do you have so far?
- You know if your child/children will have a school curriculum or not
- Also, you will know if you need to work from home or are taking time off
- So what to prepare?
The current advice is to self isolate for 14 days if you or anyone in your household experience any symptoms. So plan for double that to start with and then see what is needed to supplement that.
- Plan the meals ahead for two weeks, see my post about meal planning
- Ensure you have the bulk of the ingredients needed for those meals
- Stock up on the essentials but do not overbuy!
- Keep an eye on the expenses and budget buy, we don’t know what is to come, see more here about saving money
In this post, I give you all you need for meal planning, including a printable to have them organized.
Also, here I have recipes you can do with very little. Include some of these in your meal plan and mix and match with other recipes you normally cook for your family.
If you can’t go out, order what you need online. Did you know that Amazon delivers groceries to your door? They stock most of the basics and fresh produce, learn more here.
What if kids don’t have classroom work?
This really depends on the age of your child/children and their personality. If you did not receive guidance from the school, you can still have a plan that keeps kids entertained, happy & learning during Coronavirus pandemic isolation. Get them working on a schedule with you so you have their buy-in. Talk to them about the importance of continuing to learn, even if they don’t have school guidance, they can still learn about different things.
Relax and know your kid’s interests
A couple of ways I have found work really well with my kids (completely opposite personalities) are investigation & role-play tasks or projects.
My son is older (13yo) and he is really into politics, sports and current affairs. He wants to be a writer, politician or lawyer. My son is good with words, can talk forever and likes learning.
My daughter (10yo), likes fashion, dance and cooking. She wants to own a nail salon or be a chef and does not enjoy reading very much. She struggles with focusing but she has a good business head and likes money.
Using their interests and learning more
Both my children struggled with coming up with things they wanted to learn or investigate.
So I suggested that my son learns a little more about what he could do to launch his first online book. He has started a few books but was never very serious about it. I wanted him to see that other kids his age had self-published books online. I asked him to make a plan – write down he wanted to know, all he wanted to ask other kids that have already done it. See below more about creating an ebook.
He also wanted to know more about the Israel/Palestine conflict, so we agreed on fact sheets. Another time he investigated European capitals and what they are known for.
Also, what are the subjects most politicians study and what it takes to be a successful lawyer?
For my daughter, we went for a slightly different approach… First I asked her what she thought she needed to study if she wanted to open a nail salon and to be a chef. I asked her to investigate online and get facts together (famous people, famous restaurants and salons, etc).
Next day, she said she wanted to know more, so we agreed to more research. She came back saying that with a nail salon, she could employ other people. If she wanted to be a chef, she needed to cook herself 🙂 The nail salon was a better option! Then we talked about running a business and what it takes to run a business when you are young. Again she investigated and made notes, then we talked about it before dinner time.
These are all things I have used during the summer holidays. They helped keep the children busy and supported learning with subjects that they actually enjoyed learning about.
Setting up a daily schedule
Use the time before the kids wake up to complete some of your most important work tasks!
An example of a daily schedule
- 9.30am family breakfast
- 10.00am till 11.00am fact-finding activity (research)
- 11.00am till 11.15am snack time
- 11.15am till noon summary of earlier findings
- Noon till 1.00pm lunchtime
- 1.00pm till 2.30pm quiet time (own time) reading or online focus/board gameplay
- 2.30pm till 3.30pm presentation or discussion preparation
- 3.30pm till 3.45pm snack time
- 3.45pm till 5.00pm playtime or reading time if quiet time was not reading
- 5.00pm or when you finish work – presentation time (30 minutes) while you prep dinner
- 6.00pm bath/shower
- 7.30pm dinner
- 8.30pm bedtime
Use technology to your advantage and give them skills for life. If you have an old computer or laptop, set tasks for your kids. Let them use Word, Excel and Powerpoint for their presentations. They will love being on a computer and can learn valuable skills!
other activities that will entertain kids during the coronavirus pandemic isolation
Working on the Garden
If you have a garden, there are many things kids can do outside, see below a few tips:
- Start with a garden clean up and generally tidy up
- See here a good list of things to do in the garden this March
- start a small vegetable patch with the kids, see here for ideas, best veg to grow and how-to guide
- Create a wildlife-friendly garden, learn more here about animal shelters and how to create them
Writing their own-ebook
I personally think this is a great idea! Why? It develops so many different skill sets, keeps kids entertained and learning continuously. Teaches persistence and develops business skills.
How to go about it
You can start in any format, pen and paper will work but if your children enjoy devices, this is a good way to use a device whilst learning.
It doesn’t have to be too fancy but if your child is a little older why not try for something they can then leverage online?
Here is a great guide on how to do it step-by-step. This guide also includes publishing tips and kids clubs where children can share chapters and have discussions about their plots.
If your children are not into writing a long story but they know how to make crafts or cook or any other craft, why not putting together an ebook for children about that craft?
When it comes to publishing any type of ebooks, Sqribble is a great tool. This software is specifically designed for publishing and comes with so many features. It already includes a commercial agency license to use Sqribble for client work, offering eBook creation services, with the ability to create unlimited eBooks which you can sell and keep all the profits.
Have a look here for more details and for a limited time you can get two offers. Ten bonus templates worth $195 and with this code (USE CODE: “spock”), you will get $3 off (this offer expires soon).
other learning devices
Get your kids an Amazon Fire 7 Kids Edition Tablet
This is a great option, especially if you have Amazon Prime or Video and you can be reassured as the parental controls are very good!
Do you have other ideas on how to keep kids entertained, happy & learning during Coronavirus pandemic isolation? Let me know in the comments below their favourite activities and what as worked for you and your family. Let’s share ideas and help each other in this time of uncertainty.
Keep safe and healthy!