There’s a sort of panic at the moment, a desperation about finding ‘things’ for our children to do.
What will the children do today?!
What if they get bored?!
What if they haven’t read the entire works of Lewis Carroll by 5pm?!
We can’t find the red crayola. Where’s the red crayola?! For the love of God, what will we do if we can’t find the f*cking red crayola?!
People are whacking out different ideas on their pages every five minutes, Joe Wicks appeared like a vision in Lycra and saved us all from reaching new lows of inactivity, schools started emailing out reams of work sheets and parents (including me!) are doing their very best to be fun! The kids keep looking at me like I am an imposter……
‘Hey guys! Who wants to play a game?! ‘
‘I was just thinking, wouldn’t it be such fun to make this egg box into a robot….guffaws loudly into their stony faces….’
I’ve a seven year age gap and finding things that suit both of them is difficult. My efforts have declined rapidly as the week has gone on. My youngest is happy with 12 hours of Disney+ and the occasional cartwheel across the lounge and my eldest is living in his room, playing his guitar and video calling his mates.
What am I on about? Well today, without any prior planning from me, they just played together!
We’ve had a clearout sesh like many others and we found my eldest’s old Cars collection (as in Lightning McQueen) in a cupboard. He had a brief look through and then put them to one side. This morning, we got up late and there were no school work or play plans for the day. I was doing washing, my husband was working from home and the kids were mooching around. And then, they started to play together! Actually together!
He showed her all the Cars and she wanted to race them and where he would normally shout at her to get out his room, he said ok and they played (granted a very short!) game together.
I’m not being one of those “my kids are a delight and fully embracing our forced family time” – they went back to wrestling , shouting and door slamming a very short time after but, they played together! And I’m not sure it would have happened had we not been on day 11 of isolation. Not in the way they both were laughing and enjoying the game. It was a little bit of magic.
So, what I’m trying to say is, don’t break yourself trying to find ‘things’ for them to do. Play will happen regardless. It might only be for 10 minutes, it might only be for 2. It might be playing together, it might be separately. You might not see much of them all day today yet tomorrow they might be hanging round your feet saying
‘we’re boooorrrrred’ but regardless of whether you crack out your best Mary Poppins impression, your players are always gonna find a way to play.