Parents dread hearing the inevitable “I’m bored” from children spending long periods indoors. Though being inside may slightly limit activity choices (i.e. living room hockey is not advisable), there are still plenty of ways to have fun and maybe even learn a few things. Here are some great suggestions, courtesy of Ivy League Kids, to get you started.
Blend Remote Work with Child Care
As adorable as the occasion Zoom-bomb from your toddler is, constant interruptions during your workday are not helpful. Use these tips to engage your child in meaningful activities while you work:
- Establish a predictable routine. A minute-by-minute schedule is not necessary, but having a predictable rhythm to your day provides children with the consistency upon which they thrive. It also saves you from endless questions such as, “What are we doing now?” or “When’s lunch?”
- Make healthy snacks accessible. Give them directions on what and how much to take, empowering them to help themselves.
- Create opportunities for independent play. When you have a deadline to meet or a work call to make, buy yourself uninterrupted time by setting your children up to play independently. Younger tots love busy bags which are filled with age-appropriate activities that can occupy them for extended periods. For older children, invite them to create hobby boxes filled with supplies that appeal to their interests.
- Set clear boundaries. Agree on signals that let your children know when they can come to you and when they have to let you work.
Put Them To Work
While it’s not uncommon for children to resist housework, with the right approach, kids will view doing chores as making important contributions to the household. Even the littlest family members can participate in developmentally-appropriate tasks.
Delegate responsibilities using a chore chart or teach your kids to simply pay attention to what needs to be done. For example, a filled laundry basket means clothes need to be folded and put away. Help your kids develop this mindset by doing some household tasks with them. Let them be your assistants for meal prep or plant an indoor garden together.
Set realistic standards for completing tasks. Replace “perfect” with “good enough.” You may end up with streaked windows or half-folded laundry, but your kids are learning valuable life skills and enjoying a sense of belonging and accomplishment.
Pass the Idea Torch
At some point during the evolution of modern parenting, “activities director” became part of the job description. Moms and dads tasked themselves with making sure their children were occupied and entertained every waking minute of the day. Assuming such responsibility is exhausting for parents and potentially limiting for kids as experts agree that unstructured play is an essential component of child development.
With this knowledge in hand, permit yourself to shed your role as activities director. Your children’s day does not need to look like a cruise ship itinerary. You can provide them with ideas, supplies, and of course, your participation when you can, but otherwise, turn the reins over and let your kids use their imaginations. Boredom breeds creativity and most likely, when left to their own devices, you’ll find your children engaged in writing a play, conducting a science experiment, or modifying a game they play to make it more interesting or challenging.
Younger children will still need guidance and close supervision. As they get older, their attention spans, independence, and capacity to entertain themselves will increase exponentially.
Children don’t really need much to learn and have fun at home. Give them boundaries, guidance, and supplies and they will take care of the rest.
Ivy League Kids believes in the importance of creating a safe and caring environment for kids in the out-of-school-hours. We strive to uphold the highest level of integrity as we are trusted on a daily basis with the most invaluable thing known to our world, children. Call (815) 464-1265.