You do not need to plan complicated activities dedicated to learning and have a rigid schedule in order to support your children. You can incorporate activities into everyday life and play and you can help your child to learn through the little things you do with them, for example:
- everyday conversations
- make-believe play
- games with numbers or letters
- reading together
- involving them in the things you are doing, such as household chores, and talking with them about it
You know your child best. Do they like spending a lot of time on one activity or do they prefer a mix of shorter activities? Following their lead on this can stop them getting bored or frustrated and keep them active, interested and learning through things they enjoy.
Do I need a routine?
Don’t worry about trying to keep to the exact routine that your child had in nursery, but generally children will feel more comfortable with a predictable routine, so try to make sure they:
- get up and go to bed at the same time each day
- have regular meal times
- turn off any electronic devices, including the TV, at least an hour before bedtime
Keeping active & exercising
Young children should be active for at least 3 hours a day.
It is good to get fresh air everyday, but if you don’t have a garden and are taking children outside to exercise, make sure you follow the rules on social distancing.
There are plenty of things you can do to keep children active whilst inside or outside, such as:
- playing hide-and-seek
- seeing who can do the most star jumps
- making an obstacle course
- playing music and having a dance-off
TV & Digital Devices
There are lots of ways to help your child to learn such as reading together and make-believe play. You can also use what children have watched on television or the internet to help their learning. Talk with them about what they are watching or use their favourite TV characters in other games and activities.
Digital devices such as a laptop, desktop, tablet or smartphone can help some children learn. If your child does use them, try downloading some apps that will help them learn.
Set age-appropriate parental controls on any devices young children are using and supervise their use of websites and apps. See advice on keeping them safe online.
Try sharing things your child makes with your friends and family online and encourage others to do the same. Your child might enjoy seeing things they have made on the screen or seeing what other children have done.
Socialising while social distancing
Spending time with other children is important for your child’s development, but at the moment it is important they stay at home.
It will help them if everyone in the home talks with them through the day, responding to them and being led by the things they are interested in.
If you can, try a video call with other children. Younger children may not have a conversation as you would, but they can share activities or show each other things they have made or like.
Try a call with other people that your child knows, such as grandparents.
Sit and do the call with them to help. Not all children will like it, so try again another time or have a call with family members while you are sitting down and eating a meal.
Try sitting with your child and looking at pictures of their friends or family. Talk about them and the things you have done together.