Stay Home: This is the time for self-directed play and connection

I feel like we are about to enter into a new phase of overwhelm. I am sure most of us have felt overwhelmed with the uncertain and rapidly changing circumstances surrounding the global pandemic over the last few weeks. A lot of us are now trying to settle into a new normal that is staying home. None of us know how long this will last and so we are understandably trying to figure out what we need to put in place for our children (and ourselves) to ensure all needs are met.

It’s tempting to draw up a schedule covering all the areas of learning your child covers in a school day. Literacy, numeracy, P. E, something that incorporates STEM? and what about languages?

Well as an early years specialist, a mother and a friendly voice of reason, I say don’t. Because trying to recreate school at home is likely to add to that overwhelm and whats more, it simply isn’t necessary. In fact, i actively encourage you not to. What your children need right now is familiarity, simplicity and the calm that comes with both.

Prioritise moments of connection with your children, doing things they are interested in and encourage lots of self-directed play. We do not need to be our childs teacher or entertainer right now, or in the latter case, ever.

This is not the time to spend all your energy on planning activities (although spending some time setting up an environment which fosters self-directed play will be worth it but thats for another day).

I recommend you throw out screen time rules, put away the worksheets, get off pinterest, put down the french dictionary and instead watch a film together, bake some bread, take a day bath, get out into the garden or on to your balcony if you’re fortunate enough to have one.

In time you will find that a new daily rhythm takes shape and you will be able to see where more structured learning might slot in, but for now find comfort in slow, simple days doing the things you all enjoy.

Ideas on a postcard please!