Safe at Home, Not Stuck at Home: Sleepyhead Parenting During Lockdown
As the world continues to grapple with the coronavirus outbreak, many families across Europe and beyond remain under strict stay at home measures. One of the biggest challenges of parenting during Covid-19 is to protect our children not only from the virus itself, but also from the anxiety and frustration surrounding it.
During such an uncertain time, we want our children to feel safe at home; not stuck at home. So how do we make sure we are creating a fun and safe space around our children?
Having a schedule
Children, especially young children, thrive on structure and familiarity. They feel safe and confident when they can anticipate what will be coming next. What may feel like a boring and restrictive time for us as adults may not be so for our children. With more attention from their parents and extra time to play with all their toys, for many children, this could be a time they treasure. Especially if they aren’t picking up negative vibes from us.
For those parenting during Covid-19, there are so many things to be juggling. From work, to home-schooling, to trying to keep up with friends and family, it can be hard to cope. Having a flexible structure in place can help the days pass more smoothly.
Everyone’s structure will be different and will depend on the ages of your children. Yours may include some home-schooling, exercise outdoors if you are allowed, time in the garden, or time watching telly. It could also involve you and your partner’s work schedules and time talking to family members online. Then there will be set times for playing, creating and spending time as a family.
Take time to sketch out a daily or weekly structure. Having special activities for different days can make the week more enjoyable. Whether it’s pancakes on a Saturday morning or toasting marshmallows in the garden on a Friday night, little traditions will help each day feel special.
Time to rest
This is a stressful environment for everyone, so make sure you are having plenty of time for fun and also for rest. Setting aside some time for independent play can be a helpful addition to the daily schedule, giving both children and adults space to rest and recuperate.
Your little one’s Sleepyhead pod can be a calming space for them to relax in. Setting up a cosy corner with books and teddies may encourage them to sit quietly for a while, giving you a chance to put the kettle on. Once they reach an age where they no longer want to nap, giving them the option of a quiet time alone instead may help to ease this transition.
For inspiration on how to make the most of your Sleepyhead around the house, see our blog post.
Giving them freedom
Whilst the pressure to home educate can feel like a burden, giving children choice and flexibility within their activities may help make the process more enjoyable for all.
The famous educator Montessori believed that education works best when it allows children to be “free to follow their natural impulses to become the wonderfully dynamic, natural learners they are designed to be”. For example, if your child loves being outdoors, could you give them chalk to draw on walls rather than on paper? Or if they enjoy baking, can you use this as a chance to teach them measuring and numbers?
One simple way to allow your children a sense of freedom is to select a handful of activities each day and give them a choice. That way you can ensure they are learning what they need to, whilst giving them a sense of control.
Don’t reinvent the wheel
As they say, there is no such thing as an original idea. There are plenty of helpful Instagram accounts out there to gather ideas from for craft or activities, to help ease the pressure of parenting during Covid-19. Use this time to try new things you wouldn’t usually do at home and you may even discover some new favourites:
Increasingly popular in the UK, the five minute mum has a realistic approach for busy parents. Her activities all use things you already have around the house, and should never take longer than 5 minutes to prepare. The aim is to make education fun and hassle-free.
This account provides ideas for messy play, quick and easy play, bath time play, sensory play, inside play, and outside play. She also provides a section for learning arts, science, math, literacy, fine motor skills, and gross motor skills!
This account has daily themed activities you can follow that are fun and inspiring
Printable learning shop
Create with recycled items
Create a new environment
With more time at home, you may start to think about what areas of the house you could redesign. Redecorating a room gives you a sense of achievement. And it creates a refreshing new environment for you and your little ones to enjoy.
Few rooms are more fun to decorate than the children’s rooms. Whether you are going for fun, inspiring or calming, it is an excuse to go wild with beautiful colours and cute designs. With so many options for styles and accessories available, it can be hard to know where to start. Creativity often thrives within boundaries. So one great way to get creative is to start with one item that you love. Find a cushion, a piece of art, or a Sleepyhead cover and use that to inspire the rest of the design.
The new Sleepyhead Wild at Heart range is a great starting point for a stylish kids’ room. From the warm Bronze Cheetah, to our cool Painted Spots, the cute Jungle Cat or the whimsical Crane design, we love these wild new patterns. They allow you to embrace your favourite animal prints in a whole new setting, so what’s not to love.
Make time for yourself
Lockdown with small children is no small feat! It's physically demanding, emotionally draining at times, and pretty constant. Find time for yourself, even if that means more screen time for the kids. And go easy on yourself - noone can match-up to the heavily edited lives we follow on Instagram! Our job as parents is to ensure our childrens' happiness and safety, not document amazing crafts, or beautifully prepared nutritious snacks. Do what works for you.
Sleepyhead parenting during Covid-19
Wherever you are through this difficult season, we hope you are safe and well. Parenting during Covid-19 is full of ups and downs, from the joy of time with the family to the fear of the future. But whatever you are going through, it helps to know that everyone around the world is going through it with you.
Keep in touch on our Instagram page to share with other parents like you. Looking out for each other is more important than ever.