President Cyril Ramaphosa has extended lockdown to prevent the alarming rate at which COVID-19 is spreading around the country. Kids have been home for a while now, the cartoons are no longer exciting, naptime at this point is World War Three and let’s not forget when you are in a Zoom meeting trying to multi-task between listening to your colleagues and making sure that the house is not being destroyed.

At this point, every parent must be asking themselves how teachers deal with their kids every day. There is no solution to the madness but there are ways to curb the chaos that happens from the moment your little ones wake up to when they decide to fall asleep.

1. Create a schedule
There should be a formula to the madness. Planning is very important when dealing with kids. Write down the time they must have breakfast, lunch and supper. Write the time they will take baths, when they will have their playtime, their naptime and studying time. Discuss the daily routine with the kids so they can understand what they must do throughout the day. Routine also helps you manage the activities around the house much better.

2. Plan different fun activities
It’s very important for kids over the age of four to have things to do between scheduled eating times. Plan activities that you know your kids will enjoy based on their personalities. These activities should tire the kids out, to make it easier for them to nap during the day.

    • You can bake and cook with them, giving everyone different roles to do so that they feel included. Check out FunDza’s mobi site for great ideas, for example, learn how to make flapjacks here, or 3 ingredient butter biscuits here. If you’re feeling adventurous, you could even tackle peppermint crisp tart ice cream sandwiches. You can find the recipe for those here.
    • Kids like playing house. Choose an area in the house where they can build their own little house. You can act out a story, maybe as the monster that visits the house.
    • You can create school activities where you act as a fun teacher that gives the kids treats when they get the answers right.

There is no good or bad idea, just find creative ways to occupy their time.

3. Lessen screen time
Television, phones and laptops are good distractions but that should not be all the kids use. They can read stories and play games online but schedule the amount of time they spend using technology and then have them do something else. For example, if they play games online for an hour have them play with the toys around the house for another hour. Balance is very important. It’s also important for you to set an example by putting your phone aside for a certain time – they will learn from that.

4. Give the kids chores
This one does not sound fun at all, but the way you ask your kids to do the chores makes a big difference. Be gentle and distribute chores amongst everyone. Something like “if you help me clean this quickly, we will have a lot of time to play later,” goes a long way because they have something to look forward to.

If they make their bed after they wake up and clean their room then they could get a treat for it. Perhaps the treat could depend on how well the child does. Compliment them so that they feel validated for what they did, no matter how small.

There are parents who have to manage both working from home and time with their kids. Making sure that you put aside time to achieve everything is very important. For example, I am working from home and I have to take care of my eight-year-old sister. So here are mini tips for what you can do keep the kids occupied while working:

    • If, like me, you have Zoom meetings, especially in the morning, find things that will stop them from distracting you. Like cartoons or toys that they can play with around the house.
    • Give them homework. My sister’s teacher gives them daily homework to do and that has been really helpful. During this time, it is very important to keep their minds working.
    • Exercise is very important. You can get tutorials for them to watch while you are busy working on the side.
    • Naptime is important both for the kids and for yourself. My sister is at an age now where she can stay awake the whole day and it drives me crazy but I have put a rule down that 1pm is nap time no matter what. That time is also for me to relax from my work and from her.

All these tips will not be useful if you are not getting the rest you need. Make sure to sleep the full eight hours, drink water, exercise, meditate. Taking care of yourself means that you can fully be present for work, kids and life in general.

Learn some tips on how to keep studying during lockdown here

Tell us: How are you keeping your little ones busy during this period of lockdown?