Four things to do to keep the kids happy and entertained during social distancing

  • 23 March 2020 | Pakamani Nombila

Schools across the country shut down on 18 March 2020 following President Cyril Ramaphosa’s announcement on Sunday 15 March, detailing measures to mitigate the spread of the Covid-19 virus. This has seen millions of parents with school-going children across the country go into self-isolation within the confines of their homes.

Riverfields has put together four tips to help families survive social distancing during the coronavirus pandemic:

Stick to a routine

In an effort to curb the rate of infections during the global Covid-19 outbreak, the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that “people self-quarantine if they are concerned they may become ill following possible exposure”. During a time such as this, it’s incredibly important to maintain a structure and stick to a routine for your children.

This routine should include some of the usual things you’d do with the kids on a normal day: setting alarms to wake up in the morning, showering, getting dressed and eating. Create a schedule that breaks down your day into manageable tasks, including mealtimes, reading time, phone time, exercise and chores.

Try a positive approach with board games

How about going back to the basics with the little ones during this period of self-isolation? Board games have a long history of helping families to connect and build bonds. With everyone at home, during scheduled breaks or after “office hours”, kids can benefit greatly from playing board games with the rest of the family.

While such quality time with the little ones benefits their brains and boosts their language development, it also teaches valuable life lessons, including teamwork, patience and how to gracefully accept their wins and losses.

Enroll on online educational courses

With schools closed for the next several weeks, parents need to find creative ways to keep children’s brains stimulated, and online learning tools are the way to go. There are several excellent educational applications from companies and accredited institutions that offer full curriculum courses, fun activities and entertainment.

Organisations and sites such as Khan Academy, Scholastic, Epic, Funbrain and National Geographic Kids all have fun and interactive activities for school-going children of all ages. These should help stave off cabin fever and the anxiety that can come from being stuck indoors with little to do.

Go get some sunshine and fresh air

Cabin fever can have negative effects during self-isolation, so while you’re still keeping your distance from the rest of the world, there are benefits associated with going out to get some fresh air and being out in the sunshine. If you’re lucky enough to have a garden, read a book outside or play with your pets.

Being outside for a brief period also has positive benefits for your mood. So walking the dogs to the park to enjoy the greenery and fresh air can be good for your little ones, provided that they do not get into close proximity with anyone and meet the required standards for social distancing.