Talk with them about what’s going on, keeping communication as open as you can. Let them know that it’s okay to feel however they feel – whether that’s scared, worried, angry, sad or something else.
Try to answer your child's questions and reassure them in an age appropriate manner. While you don’t need to know all the answers, talking things through can help them feel calmer.
Encourage your child to do the things that help them when they’re finding things difficult. This will be different for everyone – it could include things like doing exercise or going for a walk, watching a favourite film, reading a favourite book, cooking or baking, talking to friends, or drawing or writing.
Reassure them this will pass, you’re there for them, and you will get through this together. Having returned to some of their normal activities over the summer, going back into lockdown might feel frustrating for your child. They may even be worried that things will never get better. Recognise how difficult this is, while also letting them know that the pandemic, and the lockdown, will not last forever.
Spend time doing a positive activity together. This can help them to feel calmer by giving them a short break from everything that’s going on. It’s also a great way of providing a space for them to talk through their concerns, without having a ‘big chat’. You can use our lockdown activity ideas to help you.
You can find our tips on starting a conversation with your kiddos here:
Talking to your child about how they’re feeling can be hard. By taking 20 minutes with them to do an activity you’ll both enjoy, you’ll create a relaxed space to start that conversation.
One: Play a ball game
Football, catch, basketball, dodgeball… there are endless ball games to choose from. You don’t need a court to play - just a garden, or a green space and a ball. Top tip: Ask your child to pick a game they’d like to play or ask them about their favourite sports team.
Two: Ready, set… bake
Baking is a great way to have fun together and there are so many 20-minute bakes to choose from. Keep it simple with fairy cakes, scones, traybakes or energy balls. Top tip: Take time to sit back and enjoy your bakes together while they’re still warm.
Three: Take a walk
Sometimes taking 20 minutes is as simple as taking a walk, whether it’s through nearby countryside, to the shops or around the block with the family dog. Top tip: Leave some silent moments and create a space for your child to talk to about anything that’s on their mind.
Four: The ‘five things’ game
An easy one for you if you’re on the move, challenge one another to name five things you can see, four things you can touch, three things you can hear, two things you can smell and one thing you can taste. Top tip: You can play this game anywhere, from the journey to school to shopping in the supermarket.
Five: Put on your dancing shoes
If your child loves to dance, let their feet do the talking. Ask them to pick out their favourite song and dance like you mean it! Top tip: Teach one another some dance moves, and then see if you can come up with some dance moves of your own together.
Six: Go for a drive
Car journeys are a great opportunity for 20 minutes with your child. Encourage them to leave their phone for a while, turn down the radio and strike up a conversation.
Seven: Explore together
When was the last time you explored somewhere new together? Stick a pin on a map somewhere nearby that neither of you have been to and try your best to get there! Top tip: The best explorers use their senses, so switch off your phones, avoid distractions and use team work.
Eight: Flex those green fingers
Sow some seeds and watch them grow together! Begin with seedlings on the windowsill and watch them propagate before moving them into window pots or even the garden.
Nine: Yoga time
Designed around controlled movement and breathing techniques, yoga is an easy one to do together at home. Grab a bit of floor space and give it a go! Top tip: New to yoga? We can help you and your kids with it. You can start doing yoga with us (virtual classe via zoom)
Ten: Twenty-minute crafts
There are so many crafts you can do in 20 minutes. You could paint a plant pot, make a friendship bracelet, try origami, create a photo collage or make a musical shaker. Top tip: Pinterest is full of inspiration. Create a board together so you can always find something you want to make.
Eleven: Design your own cards
All you need for this is some card and pens, and you can draw your own Christmas, Birthday, Thank You or Get Well Soon cards. Top tip: You could use this as an opportunity to write a card to each other, and use what your child writes as a way to start the conversation.
Twelve: Share your music
For some people music is how they connect with the world. If this is true for your child, try sharing some music together by creating a playlist. You may surprise each other with your choices and even introduce each other to something new. Top tip: You could try creating a playlist for a specific occasion, such as getting ready in the morning, or for when you’re in the car.
Thirteen: Cook together
Ask your child if there’s something they want to learn how to cook and make it with them. Top tip: If cooking a meal together might be a bit too tricky, decorating pizzas with your own toppings could be an easier alternative.
Fourteen: Sing it
From car singing to serenading the family in the kitchen, turn up your favourite ballads and sing along. Top tip: Want to make it into a game? Challenge them to sing in the style of their favourite film or TV character.
Fifteen: Indoor picnic
20 minutes isn’t quite enough time to head out to the beach with a picnic blanket, but it’s perfect for having one indoors. Lay out a blanket, pick out your family’s favourite finger food and have a picnic in the comfort of home. Top tip: Indoors picnics have one simple rule - you can only eat when you’re sitting on the picnic blanket.
Sixteen: Tech-free games
Take a screen break with tech-free games like 20 questions, cat's cradle, marbles, jacks, the floor is lava, skipping and more. There are so many traditional 20 minute games to choose from. Top tip: Make it your own by adding new family rules to give your childhood games a modern twist!