The following guidance will support you in planning your day at home.
We've had some requests from parents to share the routine used at their child's centre so they are able to follow this at home. While every Busy Bees' centre will follow a slightly different routine to support the individual children that attend, we thought that it might be helpful to add some hints and tips on supporting your child's routine at home during this unusual time.
Start the day right
As much as possible, try to stick to your normal morning routine of getting up and ready for the day. Encouraging your child to get up and dressed will make it easier if you choose to go out into the garden or for a walk and will also help to differentiate between the weekday and weekend.
What to do when
Sticking to a rigid routine isn't necessary, however having some form of structure for your day will be helpful to support you if you are aiming to try and do some work from home as well and will also help your child understand what is happening next. Having a routine supports children's sense of well-being and security. For older children, why not involve them in writing out or drawing a routine together? You could also keep an 'at home diary' and encourage your child to write or draw what they enjoyed doing at the end of the day.
What to include?
Your child learns through every interaction and experience that they have so don't worry about planning in set times for educational experiences. Plan a routine that suits what you need to get done during the day along with activities that your child will enjoy. Set times when you and your child can enjoy activities together, for example a craft project or cooking together and times when they will be engaged in an activity without you, for example watching something on the television while you are on a conference call or preparing a meal. Try to find activities that you know will engage them for a long time, for example playdough or role play.
Other areas you may wish to include are:
Time for a story. Set aside time to share stories together. Sharing stories is a wonderful way to support your child's communication, listening and attention skills and would normally form part of their session at nursery.
Time for a song. During their day at nursery, your child will share lots of songs with their friends. We use songs to support routines (for example encouraging children to wash their hands) as part of learning activities (for example number rhymes) and as part of our daily activity (for example before lunch or tea). Try including songs and rhymes as part of your daily routine.
Go outside. Having fresh air is hugely important for your child. Set aside part of the day to go outside with your child. Many children learn best in an outdoor environment so you may wish to take some activities outside with you, or simply enjoy moving around in the outdoor space. If you do not have a garden, the current guidance from the government is that it is safe to go outside for walks with your child, however ensure you keep a safe distance of at least 2m from other people.
Physical activity. Children who can walk should have at least 3 hours of physical activity during the day. Our UP and Active with Buzz programme, launched later this week will support with ideas of keeping fit and active with your child.
Activities for interests. At your child's centre, their key person will plan experiences that support your child's interests as this is a great way that children absorb the most learning. Try offering activities that relate to your child's interests; for example if your child likes Superheroes why not set them some super challenges such as finding as many things as they can that start with 's' or seeing how quickly they can run from one end of the garden to another!
Be social. In our modern world, it has never been easier to connect with other people. Why not arrange a virtual playdate with some of your child's friends via Whatsapp or Zoom? You could also arrange calls or video calls with family members.
Your special helper
Invite your child to help with extra tasks around the house. Setting your child a challenge or a time limit will make that boring chore sound much more interesting! For example, how quickly can they tidy the front room? Can they be super grown up and help you to prepare lunch?
Talk about feelings
Talk to your child about how they are feeling during the day, and add how you are feeling too. For example "I am sad I didn't see my friend at work today" or "I am frustrated that I can't go to the gym tonight". Hearing you talk through your feelings helps your child develop their emotional literacy and make links with their own feelings. Problem solve together, for example "As I can't go to the gym, how do you think we can keep fit at home together instead?"
Give yourself a break
If your plan for the day goes out of the window; don't beat yourself up. Try and be flexible and bear in mind that everything will depend on your child's mood and how you are feeling. At your child's centre, your child's key person often changes the routine or planned activities because the children were not responding how they expected, something else more interesting has come up or they didn't want to interrupt the flow of your child's play and learning. If it all goes out of the window and you end up watching TV for half of the day, it really doesn't matter. Take time to recharge, have some head space and give yourself a break. You are doing an amazing job and you are everything your child needs just now.