Tips for parents staying at home during Coronavirus (COVID-19)
Naturally this is a challenging time for everyone, but especially for parents. We have put together a few tips for parents staying at home to make this time more manageable.
At a glance
Stick to a routine when staying at home
Create playful projects
Embrace quality time
1. Stick to a routine
While this is likely much easier said than done, experts have shown that a predictable routine often leads to a happier baby. This is true for newborns right up to toddlerhood. This routine may have changed depending whether you are a key worker, or now having to work from home. A new routine needs to be established to include mealtimes, playtimes, educational activities, active time, and time for some fresh air (in line with government advice).
We have put together some tips for establishing and keeping to a routine for your baby during coronavirus:
- Try and establish a bed time routine early on. Consistency is key, try a bath and a feed before bed and ensure the routine doesn’t last longer than 20 minutes otherwise your baby could get over stimulated before bed
- You can always adjust your baby’s bedtime routine to a little later if you want your baby to sleep later in the morning - giving you time to work, cook, prepare for the day or even have some time just for you.
- If your partner is also at home split the day in to chunks taking 2 hour blocks to care for your baby and follow the routine whilst the other works.
- Learn your baby’s cues and try and make a note of when your baby gets tired, hungry or just wants a cuddle or playtime. This will help establish a routine for you and your baby
- Try and keep the routine as consistent as possible, especially while your baby is getting used to it. You will need to have patience and flexibility while you both get into a rhythm
- Don’t expect perfection. Babies don’t run like clockwork and some days they may skip a feed or skip a nap. That’s OK, just try and get back to the routine when you can.
- Ditch the guilt! Having to work and parent at the same time is really hard and you are doing a great job. Your baby is just happy to be with you so even if every hour is not filled with creative activities, it’s fine.
- Adjust the routine for the age of your baby. As your baby gets older they will need fewer naps, fewer feeds and more stimulation. And from 6 months you have the messy fun of weaning. Getting your baby more involved in the routine as they grow older and making it fun will engage them more.
2. Make handwashing for kids fun
Make handwashing for kids fun during COVID-19 - Let’s face it, there is going to be a tremendous amount of handwashing for the foreseeable future, so why not get the little ones excited for it? The NHS have put a fab video together to help make hand washing and hygiene fun. Or you could make your own little hand wash song up with your baby’s favourite tune.
3. Create playful projects during Coronavirus
Create playful projects during COVID-19 - The key here is to keep toddlers occupied with projects such as treasure hunts, lego building challenges and art-attack style creations (so you can have your skype meeting in relative peace!). You can also keep babies stimulated with development tasks.
We have put some games below for different age babies for you to try:
- For younger babies, mobiles and activity gyms help to keep them entertained. Try to get one with bright contrasting colours (black, red or white) to help develop baby’s vision. With interactive toys these play gyms also help develop motor skills and cognition
- Put some music on and dance with your baby in your arms. This is great for baby bonding and babies love the gentle rocking motion
- Most babies are fascinated with bubbles. Put your baby in a bouncy chair or car seat and blow bubbles around them. Baby will be fascinated watching the bubbles as they fall
- Play tickle games with your baby such as “This Little Piggy” and “Round and Round the Garden” using your baby’s feet or hands. Simple repetitive rhymes are great for improving your baby’s memory skills
- For slightly older babies why not try activities involving colour. With your little one collect items round the house of a specific colour, such as blue, and put them in a basket. Let you baby explore the objects in the basket and name the objects and colour each time; for example, “blue truck”
- Use old socks as hand puppets. Draw faces on the socks or cut out and stick on features to create different characters. Put on funny voices for each character
- Make biscuits – Let your toddler roll the pastry, use the shape cutters and help with the icing and decorating
- Let your toddler help out with the washing. Teach your little one to separate between colours and whites and let them help stuff the washing machine.
4. Remember self-care
Ok, so this one might sound like a challenge if you’ve got a little one stuck indoors, you’re working from home and there’s a pile of washing up nagging you from the kitchen… but there’s only one you and you’re worth taking care of!
Here’s some small ideas for embracing self-care in a busy day:
- No time for a bath? Try a quick warm shower in the morning before your baby wakes up to help you feel refreshed for the day. Or just as you finish baby’s bedtime routine and they are settled have a shower to wash the day off.
- Pop your favourite facial moisturiser next to your bed and create a 30-second nightly ritual to apply before sleep.
- Find something that is guaranteed to make you laugh – love funny dog videos? Get on YouTube and give yourself a giggle every now and then.
- Honour yourself: your body needs rest and nourishment just like your little one so ask for help when you need it.
- Try and make time for some gentle exercise, it can boost your energy, relieve stress and help you sleep. Try 15 minute bursts or weave it into your daily activities.
- Make time to chat with your friends online, Houseparty, zoom, Facebook messenger, WhatsApp; there are lots of apps to facilitate this.
5. Embrace quality time with kids
Quality time with your little ones can sometimes be hard to come by in the usual routine of commuting, work, chores and school runs… the lockdown is a unique chance to be together with your baby more and enjoy little things, such as extra cuddles and watching their fascination at every new thing (even if you feel you’ve seen the inside of your house enough to last you a lifetime!). You may also notice that your baby is a lot happier now that you are around all the time, this can result in sleeping and eating better. Just watch them and enjoy the unique opportunity for together time.