Staying at home can be a fun and exciting time for kids, especially when they are ready to start doing so. It can help them build confidence and independence. Play old-school games. Dance parties, for example, are a great way to exercise and burn off energy. Bust a move or try out non-permanent hairdos like braids or spikes.
Watch a Movie
Keep a schedule that includes mealtimes, playtime, crafts and other activities. Creating a routine can help kids feel anchored at home and stave off the dreaded boredom. If your children are old enough, try watching a movie together while staying at home. Talk to your kids about whether they are ready to stay home alone. Remind them that you will be available to text or video chat, and make sure they have a list of emergency contacts to contact. Set a time for them to get you at the beginning of their alone time and again about half an hour later.
Play a Game
Kids are used to having a schedule at school, so adding structure at home can help them stay engaged and avoid the dreaded five-letter word—BORED! Schedule snack times and playtime with the help of tools like Xbox. If you’re on a budget, you can purchase a used Xbox One for sale near me. Make it a game and add a reward system to encourage good behavior. Children love the sense of accomplishment that comes with earning a reward. Allow your youngster to spend some time at home alone if they are old enough. Be sure to discuss it with them and give them a safety plan. Also, check in on them periodically, depending on their age. It will ensure their confidence grows and can make them feel like they have some independence.
Make a Craft
Kids love arts and crafts. They will enjoy creating their comic book strips or drawing their family tree. Kids also love to do a craft related to the holidays, like decorating their Christmas stockings or making a festive ornament for the tree.
If your children are old enough to be left home alone, try setting up a schedule for them. It will help them feel comfortable and give them structure to their day. Make sure they check in with you regularly, especially when it’s time for them to eat, play or nap. You can even set up a scavenger hunt with photos on their phones or disposable cameras.
Listen to Music
Young children love to sing and make music, and the beat of a song can help them focus and concentrate. Musical learning supports literacy, math and social studies skills too. Sing rhyming songs together and have a ‘knock knock joke contest’ to get a laugh. You can even create a scavenger hunt that requires kids to use their phones or disposable cameras to take photos of certain items on your list. Try using tricks from music therapy to help you and your child transition from a calm, focused state to play mode. It can help stave off the 5-letter B word, BORED. Keeping a schedule will also help kids stay engaged and give adults time to finish work.
Have a Snack
Kids need to eat, so having a snack can help break up long days at home. Please encourage them to create healthy snacks like fruit skewers or smoothies. Set up a DIY craft station with age-appropriate materials and a dedicated space for messy play. Provide low-mess paints, like watercolors, to keep the mess minimal. Stream videos showing how crayons are made or National Parks to give kids a more educational experience while staying home. Get the kids involved in caring for the family pets — even the youngest children can help walk the dog or clean the hamster cage. They need to learn responsibility and make their time at home feel less cooped up.
Read a Book
While it can be scary for kids to spend long stretches alone at home, it is a key milestone they will eventually need to master. To help prepare children for this major step, try some trial runs first, like letting them go to the grocery store with you for a short 20-minute test run. Encourage kids to read while staying home by keeping books within reach in multiple places. Try a wide selection of fiction and nonfiction books, including early readers that surprise and delight. Consider using dialogic reading with your child to increase engagement and comprehension. It includes pointing out words, alternating pages and asking them questions about the book they are reading.
Take a Bath
Staying home alone is a huge milestone and can be scary for kids. But it’s a great way for them to learn to be responsible and care for themselves. Be sure to set expectations and rules about how they will handle themselves at home, and praise them for their independence! You can even turn bath time into a fun activity. Have them create a word search with their family’s names or decorate the tub with bathtub crayons! It will give them something to look forward to and keep them busy while you’re working from home. It will also help to establish a routine that gives them more structure and breaks up the monotony of their day.
Go For a Walk
Staying at home all day can get repetitive for young kids, so a simple way to help them stay engaged and avoid meltdowns is to take a walk. Depending on their age, this can be as simple as hopping from one tree to the next or involve a nature scavenger hunt. Give your child a paper bag with “treasures,” like pine cones, leaves, sticks, and seeds. Then, have them sort and put them in piles based on their characteristics. When they return home, they can use their treasures for play and art projects.