Not being able to get out and about because you need to stay at home, for whatever reason, can make the days feel long. And if you have young children, the hours can begin feel like days. So what can you do to help maintain your sanity (and theirs!) and make days at home a breeze?
Schedule your day. Young kids thrive on routine. If they usually go to nursery, try to stick to their daily nursery schedule as much as possible. Think about what time they’ll eat and what time they’ll sleep and then you can build the rest of the day around that. Small chunks of time are key as little ones don’t have long attention spans and it can feel more manageable for the grown-ups too!
Try to build in some physical activity. You might not be able to venture to the park, but if you have a garden you could still get outside. If not, put a few favourite songs on and have a dance around or maybe a toddler/baby yoga video online. You could even get them involved in your own workout.
Keep nap-time if you can. The day will feel even longer with an overtired baby/toddler. It could be valuable time for you to recharge and grab a brew, or to catch up on a few jobs.
Have a few structured activities in mind as well as time for free play.
Don’t feel guilty if you put CBeebies on for a while. Get on the sofa with them and have a snuggle, or whilst they’re entertained you can pop a wash on, make tea or something else off the to-do list.
Some ideas for activities to try……
Run a bath with loads of bubbles and let them have a splash about and play. A kitchen sink works just as well for the teeny ones.
Look at what household objects you have around the house that they could play with. Kids are intrigued by things that aren’t theirs. My youngest loves tipping all the pegs out of the peg basket and putting them back in one at a time. Repeatedly! The three year old will also join in but with counting the pegs.
Build a den with blankets and throws and get in to read a story.
If you have time to plan, fill an empty ice cream tub or Tupperware with water and throw a few small toys in. Put the tub in the freezer overnight and then the following day empty the ice bock out onto a tray and let them have fun trying to chip away at the ice with spoons to get to the objects.
Grab some old socks, draw faces on them with markers or get creative with whatever craft supplies you have in and do a little puppet show together.
Play hide and seek (actually hilarious with toddlers!)
Make hand and footprint keepsakes. (Whilst this might seem a messy option, you’ll look back one day and be glad you did it)
Make a ‘post-box’ out of an old cereal box. Littlies will love just posting things though whilst toddlers and pre schoolers might make more of game out of it and write little letters and deliver them.
Make Rainbow Spaghetti – cook some spaghetti and separate into freezer bags (one per colour). Add food colouring and a little water to each bag (red, blue green for example) squish it all up so that the spaghetti takes on the colour and then rinse each coloured spaghetti in the colander. Don’t forget this step or your little one will have stained hands! Put the spaghetti into a safe container and let them dig in for a bit of sensory play. Older ones might want to thread some cheerio’s onto the spaghetti strands.
Make an indoor treasure hunt – tell them the items they’re looking for in each room and then guide them using warm, cold, colder etc.
Blow some bubbles and see if they can catch them before they pop
Dig out or set up some toys they haven’t played with in a while. Kids forget what they have, or sometimes just need someone to set something up and play with them. Blocks, role play , cars, jigsaws…..
Simple baking – rice crispy cakes are always a winner
Make musical instruments – rice in bottles for shakers, elastic bands over empty tissue bokes for guitars. Pots and pans for drums. And you’ve got a band!
Blow up a couple of balloons – play catch, see who can keep it of the ground the longest, draw a face on it, make a goal and see how can score.