How to look after your children’s well-being during self-isolation

The coming months are going to be very challenging for all of us, with many of us under huge new pressures navigating the hurdles of working from home. These pressures are multiplied when you add children into the mix.

With schools now closed, we have put together a comprehensive list of activities, with the aim of helping to ease the difficult task of keeping your children entertained as well as maintaining their mental well-being.

Creativity and education during self isolation

Creativity is essential for a child’s mental well-being and is a great way to keep them learning outside the classroom. Creativity fosters mental growth in children by providing opportunities for trying out new ideas, new ways of thinking and problem-solving. Creative activities help acknowledge and celebrate children’s uniqueness and diversity. These experiences can also help children express and cope with their feelings during these unusual circumstances. Therefore, getting children involved in such creative activities can help you to learn more about what the child may be thinking or feeling to protect their well-being during these difficult times.

Indoor activities for kids:

  • Create a family tree together, to explore the different branches of your family and their generations. Print out photos of each person and stick them on
  • Ask them to draw around their hand and fill the hand with all the things they have to be thankful for. Stick it on the fridge and to remind them of all the positive things in their life when they are feeling low
  • Make a set of bookmarks to help spark excitement around reading their books
  • Challenge your child to create a paper collage
  • Raid the garden for large stones and do some rock paintings outdoors
  • Draw a rainbow and stick it in the window- this was on the news recently and is helping teach kids about the importance of community
  • Make cards for your local hospitals and care homes. get well soon cards for patients and thank you cards for key workers
  • Do simple science experiences with products you have lying around the house

These home activities will keep your child entertained while you can concentrate on home working and adapting to the self isolation rules implemented by the UK government.

Exercising during self isolation

Physical activity is essential for maintaining mental well-being in children. The endorphins that the brain releases during exercise help to improve mood, energy levels and even sleep. Together, these positive effects help to improve self-confidence and resilience. Exercise can help to reduce anxiety and depression, as well as keeping the body strong and healthy.

Different ways to exercise with your children:

  • Daily walks, runs or cycles in nature. Being in nature, or even viewing scenes of nature, reduces anger, fear, and stress and increases pleasant feelings. Exposure to nature not only makes you and your child feel better emotionally, it contributes to your physical well-being, reducing blood pressure, heart rate, muscle tension, and the production of stress hormones. Make sure you keep 2 metres away from other walkers so as not to contract or spread the coronavirus
  • Fun circuit training. Draw pictures of different activities and place them around the room – or all over the house. The children need to visit each picture and do the activity – e.g. hop on one leg 10 times, do 10 star jumps, 10 squats, 2 roly-polies etc. See how many circuits they can manage
  • Online videos. Many families find motivation, fun and sense of community in joining in with online live coaches. Joe Wicks has become a national star of the confined youth
  • Sports activities in the garden

Re-charging during self isolation

Setting aside a section of time each day for your child to re-charge is important as it gives them an opportunity to physically rest and emotionally unwind. You don’t need to keep children busy constantly either. Downtime and free space is part of their life and should remain so.

Some activities to help your children unwind:

  • Reading and writing gives children an opportunity to make sense of how they’re feeling, express their thoughts and emotions, and seek support. It can also help to increase their self-confidence and self-awareness, and foster an interest in learning and understanding other points of view
  • Going through your digital photos is a great way to spend some time, especially if you look at them together and see what everyone can remember about special days and holidays. You could choose a few pictures to make into prints and frame for their bedrooms
  • Don’t be hard on yourselves if your children end up watching screens for some of their downtime

It is important for everyone’s well-being to keep positive and follow the advice being provided by the government and NHS. Self isolation feels ominous and challenging, but it might help to see it as an opportunity to spend more time with your children, whilst getting to know them better.

If you are struggling with how to explain the Coronavirus to your children, Marta Tofet has created some child friendly cartoons which could help. You can view them here.