Next week is half term for many people. Half term in lockdown brings different challenges to the already draining juggle of work and home-schooling. We can’t all be bouncing like Tigger (in Winnie the Pooh) all the time. Caged kids and worn out parents are not a great recipe for a harmonious or energising break but there are few things worth thinking about in a world where you are probably daunted by the pressure of “What next” in the activity schedule:
- Take some holiday days if you can, your days are accruing and the ski season is definitely off this year… so use your days wisely to help manage your own energy levels.
- Take stock of how everyone is feeling at the weekend before you go crazy worrying about planning the week – are the kids tired? Are you tired? A little mental health first aid might be called for. Being “healthy” should be your neutral state not something you are aware of because it’s forced upon you by illness or because you’ve obsessively started running. Plan your week based on the weather forecast and being kind to all of you with gentler activities at the beginning of the week, so you all enjoy a change of routine and rhythm together and it “feels” different to last week or the week before. Set some fun or just plain silly daily challenges – space hopper races anyone? Guaranteed to create laughter.
- Rest comes about in many forms, not just sleep and sitting on the sofa in front of a screen – there’s a reason for the adage “a change is as good as rest”. Clearly you might have to get a bit creative to design change into the week given lockdown, but ask the kids for ideas… they’ll no doubt have some left field ideas about things they’d do differently… pick a country you might like to visit and cook / dress as if you were there! Learn to say Please and thank you in the language and use it all day. Duo Lingo is great for easy vocab learning
- Get out of your comfort zone and do something different together. Preferably outdoors… we all need to see sky and feel space to get creative juices flowing again. Put your wellies on and find a new path to walk. Being outdoors is great for everyone’s mental and physical health. The Ordnance Survey App might help you discover a new footpath near where you live and I love the idea of creating “map art”…. Can you design a route that helps you draw an animal?
Finally don’t forget that learning to manage boredom is a key life skill for your kids to learn, so take some pressure off yourself to over-schedule entertainment. Encourage them to be resourceful, and give them a bit of space to build dens or read a book. Or use Pomofocus to set 25min windows when they can’t interrupt you and have to amuse themselves. By making it time-bound you’ll be surprised what they can come up with and you can get something done or spend a few minutes on you. Wild idea but really important, even If it’s just time to do a quick 10 minute meditation with the Calm app – ideally on your own but they do have a range for kids of various ages… it’s like playing dead lions updated for younger generations! (Free trial).