Yup, that’s right. My four year old had to be isolated due to cases of Covid-19 in her school. So we showed her where the fridge was and reminded her to keep washing her hands, and me and the husband went about our business. I’m joking. Promise.
Instead we are now on Day 13 of 14 (and so I thought I’d share 9 things that have helped maintain a tiny amount of sanity this week):
1) TV! Educational TV! CBeebies, Alpha Blocks, Number Blocks, ... I do not feel bad at letting her watch TV but we do try to have on programmes that alleviate the parental guilt of leaving her to said programme so we can take a work call, clean or you know cry silently into a cup of tea. OR we put on telly that we enjoy too (BLUEY! Films etc) then it counts as family time. In fact why not go full out and set up your tv watching area like a fancy cinema, make tickets, grab snacks and have, hopefully, an hour of time sitting down. There are loads of free puppet theatre shows to watch, like "SHHH! We Have A Plan" based on the book by Chris Haughton, from English Touring Opera & our FHS Associate Sam Wilde.
2) Baking and or cooking. I will admit husband and child tend to bake more than me and kid, but it’s always fun as long as you accept absolute devastation of the kitchen and the mega sugar high that results after licking the bowl and utensils. Here are a couple of kid friendly recipes we tried this week. My one top tip, do not leave your child to merrily make up her own cup cake recipe and then allow her to bake them. You will be forced to try them. Poppy’s Peppercorn Cupcakes were not good.
Chocolate Chip Fairy Cakes (Gluten Free so Mummy could eat them)
Victoria Sponge (Made by Daddy & Pops, Gluten Free so Mummy could eat!)
3) Running around games - super useful post baking in particular. So this is actually our third time in isolation and each time we have learnt GET HER MOVING! Any way possible. If you have a garden USE IT in ALL weather. We have invented the rainy umbrella dance. You need wellies, anorak and umbrella and to try and annoy your neighbours. (Post this comes a lovely hot warm bath which then takes up more time too!) If you don’t have a garden and I feel your pain as we used to live in a flat, do anything to encourage physical exercise. Obstacle courses using sofas, chairs, cushions, blankets. Pretend to be army cadets or spies. Or try wacky races ( invented this week) we race around our living room ten times throwing imaginary things at our opponent to knock them out the race. There is no actual end and no winners but lots of giggles. Also there are brilliant apps and programmes on Youtube to give you ideas of physical activities to do with them - Moovlee Monkey, Cosmic Kids Yoga on YouTube are both favourites and new family friendly app Caper for your phone has been a new fun find this week.
4) Scavenger Hunts. The school sent one home for us to do around the house and she LOVED it. I made quite a few for us the first time round and you can find easy ones to do yourself here
5) Anything the "Five Minute Mum" suggests either in her book or on Instagram. Really. Honestly. In fact stop reading this post and go check it out. Saved us back in April.
6) Painting. We had a neighbour give us a major roll of paper and we have made some epic creations. Often (because I’m nuts) I spread out paper and paint and leave her to it (again fully expect mass cleaning afterwards) hand painting, foot painting, bottom painting (yup it happened) we’ve used brushes, potatoes, leaves, sponges. I have tried to create specific things with her in the past without much success, and we both have got frustrated by that but you know your kid so set a project together if you can.
Can’t stand the mess? Buy bath crayons, Chuck them into bath, let them go to town, take a photo then wash away. Or a piece of paper plus small blobs of paint inside a ziplock bag. Let them squish the paint through the plastic. Wash dry and reuse ziploc after
7) Let them be bored. I’ve stopped trying to entertain her all the time. She needs to learn how to entertain herself. Conversation yesterday
Child: Mummy I was really bored waiting for you
Me: Boredom is great though, that’s where your imagination lives.
Me: What did you do when you were bored and waiting
Child: I made up stories
Me: (smugly) See
Child: LETS RUN ROUND THE ROOM 20 times IN WACKY RACES
Me: (internally - should never have made up this game )
8) Create a Whatsapp group with other grownups with similar age children and share/ swop ideas and horror stories of how everything is going wrong. I joined two such groups last lockdown and I still go through those group chats for ideas.
9) Go through our website and make a profile for you and your kid and try out the MANY FREE activities we have here. The AT HOME project has 10 plays, music and resources waiting for you to try. Our 5 minute animation is great TV (and educational - bonus parent points). And coming December 1st is our 12 TINY PLAYS project, we may have to rename as there will actually be 25 fun and festive interactive activities to fill your time with.
Finally, I’m aware the above may sound like the last two weeks have been easy, they have not. This is our third rodeo of isolation/lockdown however so we know the ropes a little. It is tough, tiring and can feel super lonely. So if you’re in isolation, or just figuring out how to survive the next month in #Lockdown2 then please remember you are not alone, and on the really bad days make sure to connect to someone, somewhere. If you think you don’t have anyone to go to, you do, message us at firstname.lastname@example.org or find us on twitter or facebook, or find me personally and we’ll talk you through.
My isolation motto for you, “One day at a time, but MOST days, it’s one hour at a time.”