7 Tips to keep kids busy during lockdown

“If only I could work from home!” How often have you heard work colleagues say these words… or had this thought yourself. For many employees, the prospect of working from the comfort of their own home sounds like Utopia. But will it be? We’ll know soon…

Another expression immediately enters my mind: “Careful what you wish for…” 

Home working might seem like heaven-on-earth from the sidelines, but it can easily render you into a state of unproductivity if not approached and managed according to your own needs. To ensure that you create the best home working space for you, it’s very important to be aware of your sensory thresholds and how you react to different sensory stimuli in your environment. Complete your Sensory Matrix™ to discover your own preferences. You can also schedule an online Sensory Coaching session thereafter where your Sensory Matrix™ results will be unpacked in more detail. 

In our recent blog, one of the tips to improve your home working environment was reducing distractions. Some distractions are easy to address e.g. close windows to drown out the noise from outside, wear comfortable clothes and declutter your desk. Some sweet, lovable, young  “distractions”, seeking your attention, might be harder to manage during this sudden, lockdown, home working era.

We all know that it will be an (initial) adjustment for both parent and child, but here are 7 tips to help you accommodate/manage/care for your child while you need to work from home:

  1. Schedule meetings and calls in advance
    Being organized and knowing beforehand when you’ll need less noise around, can help you choose the best quiet activity for your young child. Listening to audiobooks can help here. While schools are closed, you can find some for free.
  2. Get back to the senses
    Whenever possible, get your kids off the couch and away from screens (we realize it might be necessary SOMETIMES). For little ones, make edible play-dough. There are many recipes out there. If you can’t find any, we can help.
  3. Incorporate problem-solving and creative thinking
    Remember how we used to build forts, houses and castles in the lounge with old blankets draped over chairs and couches? Have old pillows, linen, empty boxes and furniture available for your child to play and explore with.
  4. Free-play with blocks
    Ask your child to build different objects (or even better, their own inventions) by using building blocks e.g. Lego. No need to follow instructions, rather creative thoughts and loads of fun ideas.
  5. Get outside
    If your home space allows it, encourage your child (if old enough) to play outside in your home garden. Riding a bicycle, baking mud cakes, swimming or even collecting sticks and stones to make a collage. Kids need to move and be active.
  6. Introduce chores
    If there was ever a time to teach kids about household chores and responsibilities, now is it. Children can clean their rooms, make their beds, set the dinner table and help parents in the kitchen during meal preparation time.
  7. Keep in contact with family
    Keep grandma and grandpa happy by drawing them a picture or writing them a letter (handwritten) every day. Mom can keep it safe and send a photo of it every night.

Make this uncertain time during lockdown more bearable for your little frustrated ones – as a result, it might just end up being more bearable for you too!

Keep life simple… like Africans do

My husband and I are campers and explorers. We love travelling through our own and neighbouring countries and prefer to take the roads less travelled when doing so. There’s an unspoken understanding between inhabitants of this beautiful continent, regardless of skin colour or language. Wherever you find yourself, everyone can relate to the beauty of African sunsets, the magic of a fish eagle’s call and the expectant smell of rain in the air.

 

We are a continent with our feet placed solidly on the dusty earth, often reverting back to basic needs and ways of doing things. Seeds get planted by hand, fruit is hand-picked from trees and fish get caught for daily meals. Kids walk to school and play barefoot in the dust, not worrying about the dirt or extramural activities.

 

I am always amazed at the simplicity by which some people live and often wonder who’s got it right: the ones slaving themselves from 8-5 (if you’re lucky) to ensure a 3 week holiday in a busy coastal town during December, or the ones who wake in the morning when sunrays enter their room, eats only once their body needs food and fetch drinking water daily according to their family’s needs.

 

Might it be true that LESS is MORE???

 

When thinking of the way kids in Africa’s rural villages play, I have to say yes.
These children can keep themselves occupied for hours with sticks, stones, trees and leaves. Years ago, before technology, we all used to play like this – making mud pies, shooting targets with slingshots, building tree houses and swimming in (then not polluted) rivers. No one gave us instructions. We simply observed older siblings and figured it out along the way. By learning through observation and trial-and-error, we developed logical thinking, problem-solving, creative thought processes and planning skills. We used our hands, bodies and senses to develop higher brain thought processes: we received information from our environment through our senses, our brains filtered and processed the information and our bodies reacted accordingly.
When a child plays in a river and attempts to cross the river, he will

FEEL how solid the riverbed is,
LOOK at the strength of the current,
LISTEN for sounds of nearby animals,
and then he’ll cross the river if it is safe to do so,
because the feedback his body received after assessing all the sensory input assured him that the logical option would be to assume that it is safe to cross the river.

 

Our brains and bodies know how to teach us valuable lessons.
We should stop interfering and allow our kids to learn through experience and exploration.

 

Get back to basics like Africans do!!!

 

To understand and maximise your sensory wiring, complete your Sensory Matrix™.