Staying connected and sane at home with kids
Families with kids are spending more time together than ever before. The COVID-19 pandemic means forced changes to school and an end to most vacation care options. Traveling to traditional Easter holiday destinations is off the table. What activities can help you manage this extra time together?
There are lots of ways to keep kids occupied online or by themselves, so they’re not buzzing around all the time. We want to help convert over-exposure to your kids into a positive experience for everyone.
Quality over quantity activities for time together
Watching movies or reading a book together is fun, yet they are “sitting next to someone” or “one-way” interactions. Kids do want you, and small grabs of focused real-life moments together can be enough.
Like we cook the same things for dinner, thinking of new things to do with kids is hard! Genuine engagement is vital, so KidsWantU brings background and some ideas for fun.
Screen-time shouldn’t “own” kids
Technology is an essential and positive addition to our lives and the future! It’s great for work, entertainment, education, and communication. Yet, face-to-face interactions, creative thinking, and social play are still crucial for wellbeing. In Let’s Talk About Excess Screen, we shared some ideas about balancing technology and real life.
Education, a whole of community approach
COVID-19 has now brought changes to delivery methods for teaching kids. This challenging time is a reminder that educators alone aren’t responsible for a kid’s development. The education sector has a significant obligation, yet parents and carers have a part to play too.
Our Top 10 Skills Kids Need for the Future, addressed the need to prepare our youth for the future of work. It suggested how parents and carers could to their best to step up to the responsibilities.
The key findings of an independent audit of a focus group program run by KidsWantU in 2019 were:
- Structured time reduces stress and increases positive emotion for caregivers
- The activities were engaging and enjoyed by both adults and children
- Caregivers felt the activities suited a broad age group and helped them stay present with their children
- Caregivers felt the activities would positively impact communication with their children, the quality of their relationship and, their child’s learning and development
Let’s get this enforced party started with some fun activity ideas.
Human Power – Brain or Body First?
We do most day-to-day things on autopilot. Controlling our bodies is not something that most people notice. The two quick activities here use our bodies in new ways. They’re a good reminder of the focus needed to do things.
- Together, choose the narrowest doorway
- One at a time stand in the door opening with the backs of your hands touching the frame either side
- Push hard with the back of your hands, like you’re trying to lift your arms over your head
- Together count to 60 (one minute). Keep pressing hard like the door frame is widening with each second
- When the minute is up, step away from the doorway and relax your arms
Watch for the priceless expression that comes from someone’s arms floating up.
What was that? Sometimes skeletal muscles contract without an order from the brain. This is an involuntary muscle contraction. Scientists call this the Kohnstamm phenomenon first described in 1915. These can be helpful like a sneeze, or when you touch something burning and pull-back before realising you felt something hot.
Humans mirror others in social and business situations without being aware. This fun activity gives a quick glimpse of what it’s like to be in “someone else’s shoes.”
- Together, set some basic rules eg. keeping one foot on the ground, 2 minutes per person, or how many actions before swapping.
- Agree who will be the first person to imitate and who will be their reflection
- Copy what the other person is doing, it could be brushing teeth, dancing, or making a funny face.
Follow on activities
- Talk together about ways you could level-up these ideas
- Make up your new games using only your physical being
- Are the kids in your life a reflection of you? Talk together about what is the same and what is different
- Empathy is an essential trait in being human. Talk about how you could change the activity to suit someone who couldn’t move or see in the same way that you can.
When you next hear those annoying drones of:
- “I’m bored.”
- “Can you please do something with me?”
- “But (insert name) can play computer games for 6 hours!”
Remember that these small humans are only at home in your life for a short time in the scheme of their whole life. The memories you create now will build lasting relationships for the future.
KidsWantU is a fun, easy education tool to help parents and carers. It uses technology for customised activity ideas for families to engage together through social play, away from a screen! It’s needed because:
- Uninterrupted 1:1 interaction matters most, and short periods are enough
- Technology is for enabling our “real lives.”
- Social connection improves our wellbeing
- Parents and carers deserve help building communication and creative skills in the drivers of our future – children