We all know how hard it is to keep your little ones entertained at the best of times let alone when you're more housebound than usual and all the days often blend into one! Fear not, with a good structure to your day, a few creative ideas and a little planning, staying at home can be lots of fun for the whole family and even an opportunity to make some new family traditions! Here are a few tips to get you started.
Start with a daily rhythm
Children respond well to structure so establishing a daily rhythm for the family is an excellent start. Tresillian's philosophy focuses on a daily rhythm of key activities which babies cycle through across the different parts, or 'zones' of day:
The golden rule is to be consistent and stick to doing these activities in the same order, at similar times, each day - "feed to play and play to sleep".
Life's a game & you're their favourite plaything! Young children love to be near you and interact with you. For very young children every day brings a new discovery even if their physical environment doesn't change that much. Whether it be a new book, a new song, a new food or a new developmental stage (crawling, walking or talking) the world is full of fun. Opportunities for connecting through play happen throughout the day and you can build these into your own activities and chores so everyone wins! Top tips for activities across the day
Morning is a great time to get out for a play in the garden or a brisk walk to get some sunlight and help establish or reinforce your baby's day night sleep rhythms which start around 3 months. You'll also be able to stock up on some vitamin D!
Mid-morning you might get your baby to ‘help’ you do some chores. This could be as simple as watching or “helping” you unpack the dishwasher. Describe what you're doing and involve them in the process - they can even help by “stacking” the Tupperware! Everyday chores can be fun for little ones if you engage them either physically or via songs or chatting them through the process which is all new to them!
Lunchtime is a great time for you all to socialise. Just like you see meals as a time to spend with friends and family, your baby is just the same!
Afternoons are a great opportunity to start to prepare for the evening which can often be hectic! Try and find an activity that allows you to have a bit of a rest before the evening “bedlam” kicks in. If you’re breastfeeding, have a cup of tea with your feet up if you can, keeping your fluids up and having a rest will set you up well for your evening feed. If you’re bottle-feeding, have a cup of tea and put your feet up too! Some downtime now will set you up with more energy for the evening ahead.
Evening can be a hectic time so be kind to yourself and don't sweat the small stuff. If your children are old enough, involve them in making dinner or associated chores like setting the table, packing the dishwasher or collecting people’s plates. This is a great routine to get into and its always brilliant to have the extra help!
Bedtime is where a pattern is critical. Your brain associates certain activities with sleep, telling your body its time for sleep. Have a set series of wind down activities for your baby (and yourself!) that lead to settling in bed. A warm bath followed by quiet time with a book, a lullaby and a cuddle finishing with a kiss goodnight are all great bedtime routine steps.
One of the most important things is to look after yourself! Be kind to yourself and make sure your family's routine works for you and makes space for you to take some proper downtime.
Babies pick up on the vibe around them so beingwellrested, keeping calm and maintaining a sense of humour when things get a bit hectic will rub off on everyone.