This year has presented us with unprecedented challenges. So, we must stay at home to save lives and ensure everything will get back to normal as soon as possible.
Firstly, our hearts go out to those who are facing challenges with their own health or the health of their loved ones.
It’s also important to remember that we are all in this together! With that in mind, I want to share some survival tips with you on how to stay sane when the world seems to be going crazy. If you have children at home, read on for essential advice for keeping children’s (and your own) health, wellbeing and development on track.
1. Be patient, be kind and listen to your child
Being patient and kind to yourself and children is now more important than ever. We’re all adjusting and it’s going to take some trial and error to find what works for each individual family. Tensions are running high and we are all experiencing many feelings, some of which could be quite unpleasant. It is essential to be patient, listen to your own feelings, listen to your child and show compassion at the moment. Hug children more often, reassure them, let them ask questions. Where possible, slow down and find time for kindness.
2. Set clear boundaries and offer choices
Creating clear boundaries for children is vital. Choices and freedom to follow their interests can be offered from within these boundaries. Explain to children what is acceptable at any given time and work with them to find strategies to meet everyone’s needs. For example, noisy time is fun, but let’s have quiet time when someone says they need to make a phone call. When the phone call is done, then let’s celebrate with singing and dancing. Perhaps children could choose which comes first. You could even develop a chart that visually depicts what is appropriate and get children involved in decorating it and displaying it where everyone can see it.
3. Establish daily routines that are consistent
Children thrive on routine. There is a reason why childcare centres, kindergartens and schools have timetabled structure to the day. Children also feel better when they know what’s happening next. That’s not to say you can’t have surprises, but even those are enhanced by having a routine in the first place. We have a great Daily Routine poster that you can use. This will also help parents who need to work from home to create time where they can be productive and make those phone calls, send those emails and so on.
4. Get children involved and create learning environments at home
Children love to role play and their carers are often their greatest role models! Try setting up children’s own work stations like yours, with pens and paper and enjoy working side by side. Involve children in creating learning spaces and setting up their own stations. These might include a self-help kitchen station, an art shelf, or shelves with books, puzzles or blocks. You can engage your child in many things that you do: from working to cooking, cleaning and more.
5. Be positive and set aside time for fun (and as much as possible!)
It’s all about balance! If children feel you are giving them attention and set aside time to have fun with them, they are more likely to work with you when you need to get something else done. Have as much fun as possible - we need it now more than ever before! Sing, dance, draw, make, build, create as though no one is watching!
6. Get outdoors when possible and be active
The benefits of physical movement cannot be overstated. Children love to move – they need to move! Incorporate movement into your schedule every day. We run free daily yoga sessions on Music Kinder at Home, so come and join in! Head outside for a morning walk, go on the trampoline, turn music on and dance – it’s all a way to make our bodies and minds feel happier and healthier. Spend some time outdoors, take a short walk to smell flowers or sit under a tree and connect with nature!
7. Quality screen time
Screen time can be useful, but make sure you choose quality offerings that provide children with an engaging educational experience. And while social isolation may be the name that’s been given to our efforts to stay home and away from one another, maintaining physical distance can (and should) be done while staying connected. Pick up the phone, join video calls and keep chatting to your loved ones. This is essential for our mental health and wellbeing, as well as children’s.
When life gets hard, we must get creative. Conveniently run through a Facebook group for you, ‘Music Kinder at Home’ provides daily videos, images, tips and routine plans and suggestions to help keep children engaged with high quality, interactive content, including:
- Daily routines
- Positive thoughts
- Video recordings of songs children will love
- Yoga, meditation and mindfulness
- Story times
- Interactive experiences
- Plus much more
This enables parents and carers to create time to get work done, have a cup of tea or just take a break while children are engaged by learning experiences with early childhood educators.
About the author
Galina Zenin (B.Mus. Ed., Dip. Teach.) is a presenter, early childhood educator and qualified music and voice training teacher, author, composer and storyteller. She writes her own music and brings to her programs a wealth of European and Australian experience, together with a high level of professionalism.
Her Bonkers Beat® programs are breakthrough multi-award winning music and wellbeing programs for early years that enrich the lives of young children and boost settings’ occupancy at the same time. They have been introduced in many settings across Australia, empowering educators and enhancing the wellbeing of hundreds of children and families.
Galina is a recipient of the 2015 National Excellence in Teaching Award by Australian Scholarships Group (ASG) and the creator of Bonkers Beat Music & Bonkers Gym Wellbeing Programs. From keynote address to small group workshops, she has inspired audiences on 4 continents and has been widely featured in the national media.
You can follow Galina on: Facebook, Twitter and Instagram: @bonkersbeat
LinkedIn: Galina Zenin