Staying Home with Children

24th Mar 2020

Last week, more than ever, I received questions from parents on what to do with children at home. How do I keep them busy and entertained?

First, of course, I start by reminding everyone that boredom can be a good thing. It is a chance for children to use their toys and household objects in a new way, learn how to entertain themselves.

I went into brainstorming mode on what we can do at home or in the back yard. It feels like there are thousands of ideas. And then I got a text from one of my RIE moms, Judy Chen: “People are panicking about what to do with their kids being home due to the virus. I just want to let you know that RIE prepared us so well for ALL situations!!!”

This message reminded me that while it can be appropriate to come up with a few ideas and provide some materials the key points are:

1.    Slow down

It can be difficult to see unhappy and whining children, but let’s try to slow down and respond rather than react.

Maybe say something: “I hear that you are saying there is nothing fun to do…” and just pause.

2.    Less is more

There is a completely crazy paradox: the less toys you have available, the more likely your child will engage in independent play. Maybe it is a good time to go through the toys and sort them out – downsize – rotate – put some away – clean others?

With older children you can make this into a project: take pictures before and after, write a blog, make a movie, share with friends, etc.

3.    Observe

I know many of us to believe that we should be actively playing with children and some of us are not really enjoying it as much as others. Let’s try something different after you reorganize the toys. Let your child know that you have 30 min or maybe 1 hour of time to “do nothing” and just watch them play. You can sit comfortably on the floor: put away your phone, not think about to-do lists or the coronavirus and just watch what your children do. Of course, you can participate if you are offered a pretend cup of coffee.

And here is another cheerful message from Judy Chen: “There’s not one day I don’t think how great RIE has done for our family!!!” 

It would be a pleasure to learn about the activities you’ve been doing with your children while quarantining at home. If you could send me what you’ve done, even if in just a few words, it would be wonderful. Pictures are especially welcome 🙂

P.S. The purpose of my post is to highlight the need to reorganize, slow down and observe, but please feel free to check out some of my recent Facebook posts in Our Parenting Place group for some fun ideas on what to do in a quarantine.

Sending you love and best wishes,

Teacher Kira

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