“These are strange times” is a sentence we’ve been hearing a lot this week.
And while we aren’t sure if, or when, we’ll be going into lockdown, the question on every parent’s mind is how they’ll be keeping their children busy if we do.
Our well-being is a concern at this trying time – both physically and psychologically – and we often find that these come hand in hand. However, maintaining both is something easier said than done right now. When we don’t get as much exercise as we’re used to, we’re affected negatively, so it’s important to start setting targets.
Start with a target you can reach. The advised amount of exercise per day is 30 minutes for adults and 60 for children, but this is harder to obtain if you’re stuck indoors (particularly if you don’t have outdoor space), so start with smaller goals – 20 Minutes a day and build up daily from there.
Do activities that makes your heart and lungs work harder than they usually do
- Try a living room workout
- Play tag in the garden
- Enjoy a music and movement activity
In an NY Times article, we hear from Barbara Poppell, an educator and child-development consultant in Shanghai:
“When we’re stuck inside all the time, there’s no release for all the energy inside our body,” explained Barbara Poppell, an educator and child-development consultant in Shanghai. So we’re starting to have big emotions with the people around us, she said, “losing our tempers and not wanting to see our family, these people that we love.” Poppell recommends that families make time to exercise every day — using online videos, music, or movement games — as well as fight the temptation to park the kids in front of an iPad.
In The Guardian’s The family lockdown guide: how to emotionally prepare for coronavirus quarantine, we are given some top tips for family isolation:
- BEGIN ON THE SAME PAGE
Discuss together what your biggest challenges are, what your strengths are and who will be the most helpful for specific challenges.
- BE TRUTHFUL
Have conversations set to talk about your thoughts and feelings. Don’t keep it to yourself.
- SET UP A STRUCTURE
Maintaining a routine is said to be important. It helps people see that there’s an end to what’s going on. But don’t be strict with it.
- KEEP MOVING
Keeping physically active is crucial to boosting mood. “Frustration and boredom can come when kids are not getting the opportunities to be physically active.”
- GET THINGS DONE
It’s important to feel a sense of accomplishment (for both adults and children) during isolation. Start a project together, keep a journal and have a list of daily goals.
- GIVE EACH OTHER SPACE
Create ‘zones’ at home. The games zone, the chill zone, the music zone
- STAY IN TOUCH
Another crucial part of a positive mental state. Stay connected to family and friends. Organise video calls for your children to hang out with their friends and catch up with grandma and grandpa.
- LEARN FROM THE EXPERIENCE
Let’s all take a moment to remember the patience of our nursery practitioners and teachers helping to keep the children in their care safe.
And a very special thank you goes out to our NHS and health care professionals.
How can my children keep active and learn something while they self-isolate?
Music and movement are greatly beneficial for both physical and psychological health. Research suggests that music can stimulate the body’s natural feel good chemicals (e.g. endorphins, oxytocin) and introducing movement allows us to engage in that ‘vigorous activity’ that’s recommended for good physical health.
‘Vigorous activity’ = activity that makes your heart and lungs work harder than they usually do.
So, combine the two and you have a healthy, engaging and educational activity to enjoy with your children at home.
You can find out how music fulfils each of the 7 aspects of the EYFS (the UK early years curriculum) in our blog post:
OUR MITIES MUSIC PROGRAMME
Our home collection is made up of 14 categories, each containing 5 songs. Purchase of a category will give you online access to the song MP3s, instructor videos and song notes.
THE INSTRUCTOR VIDEOS
Have been recorded with a BM teacher. They lead the song as they would with a group of early years children, so you can use the resource as a way of learning how to lead the song (which we recommend), or you can put the video on and watch with your children – Note, if you choose to put the video on to lead the song, you should also join in. The best possible benefits are achieved when adults and children enjoy music and movement together.
- An introduction to the song
- Suggested resources – such as stuffed toys, books, wooden spoons (for tapping sticks)
- Tips for leading the song
- Extension activities – how personalise the song and make it your own
- Linked activities – such as craft activities which you can go onto do as part of the ongoing theme
- Links to development – explaining how the activity will aid your child’s development.
- The song lyrics.
For enquiries, contact Sue Newman, Boogie Mites Director, on 023 9281 7274, or email her: [email protected]