Chezzy Kennedy, from Milton Keynes, has spent the last 10 years working with children and studying childhood behaviours. She said: "We are in very uncertain times right now and as a parent, there is nothing quite as concerning as thinking that there could be a long period of time when we are forced to stay inside with our children. Children by their very design are not meant to be calm, quiet and still. They need activities to stimulate their bodies and minds. Most of us plan for a school holiday and the diary is full of playdates and exciting activities - unfortunately, this is not going to be possible if the schools, restaurants and play gyms etc... are closed in the attempt to reduce the spread of Covid 19.
She is the Founder of social enterprise Spark Hub CIC and Creator of the Confident Kids® program and during these uncertain times and in order to help parents across the country, Chezzy has set up a free Facebook group called 'calm adults and confident kids' - https://www.facebook.com/groups/calmadultsandconfidentkids/ - where she will be running free wellbeing sessions and lots of teachers have also joined the group and will be delivering key lessons for various age-groups covering to core part of the curriculum to give parents across the country a hand.
She continues: "I think it’s important to firstly stop and take notice of what is important and understand what it is that children need to grow into healthy well-adjusted adults. When we take this view, the pressure is reduced and life becomes a lot easier to manage, even if we are in total lockdown we can meet these very needs;
- Food & drink
- and a feeling of self-worth.
"What I would say to parents is please don't panic - you don't need to be a teacher - but we need to be an educators of a different way of life. We're going to have to be in this for the long haul - so, if we go 'all in' all guns blazing... now maths, now science, now english, now art.... we're at risk of burning out - emotions will get high and emotions are going to spiral and we may be at loggerheads. It's time to notice and acknowledge our own feelings and anxieties and our families and come together to form something that works for everybody.
"Structure and routine is essential - young children don't have a perception of time and they use school for benchmarks in the day break time and lunch time. So, it is still important for us to have these structures in place and maybe write them down so they can see how the day is going to go - have a lunch time and bed time...
"It is important at this time to look after your wellbeing as a parent, your child does not need to be entertained 100% of the time. From a creative point of view, it is good for our children to get bored. When you create your daily time table have a set time when they have to entertain themselves. Use this time for yourself to do an activity that is important to you. It maybe a case that bedtime has to be 8pm (even if they don't have school) so adults can have their own time as this time could be emotionally draining. Remember this situation is new to everyone and no one expects you to be super parent you can only do your best."
If you'd like more information, please access Chezzy's FREE Facebook group called 'calm adults and confident kids'
Sensory play and activities are brilliant for calming the nervous system, enhancing memory skills and an important part of child development. Such as:
Making jewelry from dried pasta
Water play – Play in the bath if you don’t want water everywhere
Make a mud pie – Use the garden for some old fashioned mud play
Freeze toys in water then use spoons to break the ice to set them free
Corn flour play
Make play doe there are lots of recipes online
Movement/ Proprioceptive Play
Movement play, this kind of play is important to help children to focus and be able to burn energy and stay calm.
Jumping up and down make use of the trampoline or put the cushions on the floor and have a bounce
Do animal walks around the house, tall animals and small animals, jump like a frog wiggle like a snake
Walk the tightrope, put tape or a rope on the floor to walk across
Pushing exercises are great, can make the room bigger by pushing the walls?
Cosmic Kids Yoga on YouTube is great for a 20-minute adventure.
Indoor disco make a playlist of songs that make you want to dance
Create an indoor obstacle course
Lazer room, wrap wool or string around the room like lasers, then try to move around without hitting a laser.
Get the brian working and builds a sense of confidence and grows self-esteem
Treasure hunts finding objects around the house for each letter of the alphabet
Small box challenge, give everyone a small box and see who can fill it with the most items
Learn a new game like chess
What’s missing, have a tray of items and remove one see if children can guess which is missing
How many birds can you see out the window
How many blue cars go past
Making pictures from clouds
Cutting pictures from magazines to make college
Mood boards – finding images that make you happy
Vision boards – create a board of things you would like to do, places you would like to go
Potato paining – Make a stamp out of a potato and dip it in paint
Make a table den with blankets
"Remember this situation is new to everyone and no one expects you to be super parent you can only do your best."