Looking ahead to the next few weeks at home with your children may feel overwhelming; how will you keep your kids busy when they are usually occupied by routines at school or daycare? Grandview Kids Occupational Therapy team has some useful information to help you find the right routine for your family.
Routines are easy to forget when at home. On weekends, this is good as it provides kids with a break from school and hard work. However being at home everyday while practicing social distancing can present a special challenge, where kids that thrive on routine have now had this interrupted.
Routine can be beneficial for both parents and kids. For parents, routine provides structure, and allows them to schedule time needed to get things done around the house or for work. For kids, being able to predict what is going to happen throughout the day minimizes anxiety. It also helps them get back into the school routine for once classes resume.
Keep in mind that structured learning times do not need to be long or extensive, in fact, breaking them up into small chunks makes them more manageable for both you and your little one. By scheduling the day out ahead of time, you can present the routine that kids thrive on and also include the down time that both you and your kids need.
This is an unprecedented time. It’s okay to be flexible and give yourself breathing space to take care of yourself, so you can take care of your children.
** These are examples of ways you can structure your day. You can change and alter it to fit your family as needed. If your child benefits from visuals, you can add a column to the chart where he or she can add a check mark or a sticker to indicate when they have completed that activity.
Meal times- any meal time presents a great opportunity to include your child in meal prep activities. Young kids can add pre-measured ingredients and older kids can work on math skills during meal prep.
Learning time- this can be academic learning time or home economic learning time. Think of academic skills based on age and ability. Home economic learning can include sewing, baking and chores.
Take creative time (when direct supervision isn’t needed), gross motor play and free time for time to yourself for self care. Self care is important for you as a caregiver. The time you used to have (even if it was just driving to pick kids up) is no longer there right now.
Some days will go better than others when implementing routine at home. Remember that it’s okay if your day doesn’t go exactly as planned! Be flexible and adapt the plan throughout the day as needed.
Learning Time Ideas:
- Matching colours, numbers, shapes
- Writing sentences or stories
Fine Motor Activity Ideas:
- Cutting shapes/lines (with adult supervision as needed)
- Tracing shapes, letters, numbers
- Copying the alphabet or age-appropriate sentences
- Using tongs or tweezers to pick up household items
- Threading beads on a string or making pasta necklaces (macaroni and string)
Sensory Activity Ideas:
- Water painting – paint the fence or another piece of wood with water
- Rice play – put rice into a container with some other small toys for your child to find and retrieve out of the rice
- Sand play
- Finger painting
- Making and playing with slime
Gross Motor Activity Ideas:
- Cosmic Kids Yoga: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC5uIZ2KOZZeQDQo_Gsi_qbQ
- Go Noodle: Get Moving: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC2YBT7HYqCbbvzu3kKZ3wnw
- Super Stretch Yoga App (Free!)
- Wheelbarrow walking
- Obstacle Courses https://grandviewkids.ca/staying-active-while-social-distancing/