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Staying at home with children

It's hard for families to be stuck at home because of the coronavirus and it can be difficult to keep everyone happy but there are things you can do to make it a little easier. This is a difficult time, but with a little structure you and your kids can get through this and make the most of this time together. You might even have the chance to do things you don’t usually have time for.

You can find the latest advice on coronavirus on the NHS Inform website.

Tips for your time at home

Tip #1: Structure your day

Without work, school or nursery to go to, it’s easy for your day to lack structure. You can help make staying at home feel normal and give your day structure by doing many of the things you usually do. This is important as you might find the day drags, and dividing it up will keep you and your children busy being productive and having fun even when they can't visit friends or family.

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Tip #2: Get up and get dressed

Getting up at your usual time and getting dressed will help you all feel more normal.

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Tip #3: Make a plan

Get your kids to help you make it colourful and fun. Put it up where everyone can see it.

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Tip #4: Be flexible

Having a plan is great but don’t worry if you don’t always stick to the schedule.

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Tip #5: Set specific times to do any schoolwork

You could do spelling in the morning and counting after lunch. You can read our tips for helping support your kids' learning here, and we've put together some useful resources for learning at home here.

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Tip #6: Have consistent mealtimes

We all know how easy it is to snack when we’re in the house. Keeping your kids' mealtimes consistent helps structure the day and can even help your little ones’ mood - as well as stop them pestering you for snacks!

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Tip #7: Make sure and exercise

Kids need to burn off energy unless they’re unwell. This could be anything from running around the garden to watching a dance video and learning the moves. Games like musical statues are a good idea to use some energy. We have lots of great tips and games on our staying active during the coronavirus page.  

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Tip #8: Get them to help at home

This could be the perfect time for them to learn what it takes to run a household. Maybe teach them some chores and give them a specific job they need to do, like putting away the dishes or helping hang up clothes.

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Tip #9: Play games as a family

There is no end to the family games you can all play together.

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Tip #10: Have some quiet time

Set nap times if your wee ones still need it, or set a time where you relax and read a story together.

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Tip #11: Make use of video chat

Let them have time to speak to their friends on video chat and check in with any elderly relatives too.

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Tip #12: Kids rule for 20 minutes

Well not really! But let them be in charge of what you do for a little bit every day. They can choose something fun for you all to do together at home. Letting them feel in charge and giving them some undivided attention will mean they are more likely to play alone nicely afterwards – giving you a chance to get on with things.

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Tip #13: Have fun at the weekend

Treat the weekend as break time and don’t worry too much about the schedule. Let them stay in their pyjamas and watch a film or play games together.

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Look after yourself

There is no point pretending that this isn’t a strange and difficult time. And you may feel so busy looking after everyone else that you forget to look after yourself. It’s important that you find time for you when possible, and to look after your own wellbeing.

Remember, this situation won’t last forever!

You can also find advice on the Mind website about coronavirus and your wellbeing.

What happens about work?

Our page on working from home has tips on how you can balance work and looking after the kids.

You can find advice on your rights if you can’t go to work on the Citizens Advice Scotland website.