FAMILIES
26/03/2020 9:05 AM AEDT

How Parents Around The World Are Keeping Their Kids Occupied At Home

We asked families – at different stages of lockdown – for their top tips on coping.

In the coronavirus pandemic, nothing seems normal. We no longer commute to work, we can’t just “pop” to the shops, and we have to limit gatherings outside. But for parents, one of the biggest changes, perhaps, is having the kids at home. ALL. THE. TIME.

So how are they coping? From countries who have had their kids at home for weeks, to those who are still adjusting to this new routine, we spoke to parents about what they’re doing to stay positive – and occupy the kiddos – during this tricky time. 

HuffPost UK
Geoffroy Clavel's children

Do get organised. Geoffroy Clavel, editor in chief at HuffPost France, has been working at home with his two kids – Eve, 10, and Nathanael, five, – since last Monday. “Rituals are important and kids need them more than ever when their daily routine is upside down. My wife and I signed a ‘contract’ with our kids stipulating the hours where everyone must work, when we eat, when we play, when we have a little bit of exercise.”

 

Do communicate and maintain positivity. Antonia Daniek, from Germany, has three children aged 12, 15, and 16. “We organised our daily structure towards quiet focus time in the mornings where they sleep in and then study on their own, plus intense family time with a lot of communication in the afternoons where we talk, learn and have time to play. To support all of us to stay positive we enjoy inventing creative projects and spending time in our beautiful garden, we breathe and smile doing everything we can to stay calm and optimistic.”

HuffPost UK
Geoffroy Clavel's children

Do be sure to separate weekdays from the weekend. “Since we are all stuck at home and unable to go out, its very important to make a difference between workdays and the days where we can all lay back and chill, play games, cook together, watch a movie,” adds Geoffroy Clavel.

HuffPost UK
Jenny Johnson's son
HuffPost UK
Giulia Belardelli's children

Don’t try to turn into super parent. “Instead, tune into Mo Willems’ lunchtime drawing sessions on YouTube or live stream animals at various zoos around the country (I’m sure you can find your local ones on Facebook). And take a deep breath,” says Kate Auletta, Parenting editor of HuffPost U.S.

HuffPost UK
Jenny Johnson

Don’t let your kids rule the roost. Jenny Johnson, from the U.S., has two kids aged 12 and 10. “Kids need and want clear boundaries (and so do you, believe me). Set a daily schedule that provides structure, and keep it flexible. Set ‘expectations’ that you discuss and review frequently. Set consequences for when expectations aren’t met – include the kids when you’re doing this.” 

HuffPost UK
Jenny Johnson

Don’t try and teach what you don’t know. “Still don’t understand mixed fractions? Me neither. Leave that to their teachers and focus on things that you know and love to do. We’ve played pickleball, learned how to create a budget, and have Catan [a game] battles every night. When I’m having fun, they are too. Until teachers decide how they’re going to execute online schooling , these activities are keeping mine busy in the mean time: Looking at old pictures/photo albums, daily journaling, virtual lessons (painting, music, dance), learning to sew, baking and  create your own dessert, board games, video chats with friends, walks (so many walks), building forts, and movie marathons,” says Jenny Johnson, from the U.S. 

HuffPost UK
Jenny Johnson

Don’t expect it to be all hearts and roses. “We are sick of the sight of each other and sometimes bickering, but everyone is still alive, so I guess that’s the main thing,” says Valerie Howes, Canada. 

Do make this confinement an experience to remember. “I generally tell my kids that although these might be uncertain times, this is a one in a lifetime opportunity to spend more time together and bond. Although everyone is entitled to his privacy and alone time (parents included), we try to share things altogether through activities. Since my kids can no longer see their friends, I can see them getting closer and sharing more games and activities,” says Geoffroy Clavel of France.

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