Staying at home as a parent or carer can be a wonderful and sometimes challenging journey! Many parents now have firsthand experience of this due to COVID-19, which has led to numerous resources, activities and toolkits being developed to ensure you make it the best possible experience for yourself and your little ones. There are a few things to consider as a stay at home parent, with the first deciding if it is the right choice for you and your family.
Deciding what is right for your family
There is no one right choice when it comes to deciding if you’re going to stay home with your kids or send them to a childcare centre. This decision may even vary depending on the stage in your family’s life, financial situation, and other aspects. Kids Club recently discussed Staying at Home Vs Sending Your Child to Childcare, which further iterates that the choice varies for each family, and is a personal one to make. However, Kids Club can comment on the quality of childcare and the difference that makes to a child’s outcome. A study by Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) deduced that the outcome of a child’s wellbeing did not differ depending on if they went to childcare or stayed at home with their parents, however the quality of childcare did make a difference.
Should you choose to stay at home with your children, there are some things you may want to consider to ensure that both of you get the most out of the experience! Many parents may have already experienced this during COVID-19, and found that it was difficult to juggle spending quality time with your kids, and getting work done stress free. Since the pandemic stay at home orders, many activities and toolkits have been developed for parents and carers for children of all ages, such as infants, preschoolers and home-schooling older kids.
Tips for Stay at Home Parents and Carers
The Aboriginal Health and Medical Research Council of NSW (AHMRC) developed this toolkit which lists some tips to get you started in your stay at home journey. A couple of the key ones include:
1. Schedule schedule schedule!
It may not initially seem like you may need it, as it can be nice to go with the flow and take it easy when at home. Maybe the kids feel like sleeping in, or you get a bit of extra peace when it’s TV time, however, kids thrive off schedules and certainty, and it will save you extra stress in the long run as well. Although try to keep this as realistic as possible, as we all know how hard it can be to accomplish things with kids around!
2. Go easy on yourself!
Like anything, some days may be a huge success and some days may not go as planned. Make sure you look after yourself as well and remind yourself it’s ok if you’re a bit behind on your tasks or your child needs something different on that day.
Tools for Stay at Home Parents and Carers
Make learning fun for both you and your child by engaging them in games and activities to develop their social and development skills.
Ensure your child is thriving mentally and physically with the proper nutrition they need to sleep well and have energy to play and learn!
Keep your child happy and healthy with regular outings, physical activities and playdates.
Read on to find out self-care tips and tools to help you and your children stay grounded at home.
Arts and Crafts
One of the best ways to engage your child at home and develop their creative skills! Read on to discover Kids Clubs extensive creative resources.
Plan Your Day with Kids Club
Daily schedules can provide structure for young minds, as well as help you keep tasks manageable.
Games for Enjoyment and Education
Apps for Enjoyment and Education
The use of digital tablets, smartphones, TV and e-games is often seen in many of our households and with appropriate management of guideline usage, there are benefits of some apps that can be used to engage your children in their development whilst providing yourself a well needed break! Below is an an age appropriate list of apps you can download when you need to take a pause:
Monkey Preschool Lunchbox
Breathe, Think, do with Sesame
Think and Learn Code-a-pillar
Daily Vroom (brain building tips)
Khan Academy for kids
Picture Dots (ignites creativity and STEAM skills)
Also available to check out is the Kids Club archive of activities to keep you and your little ones happy at home. You can also check out below some activities that you can enjoy doing with your little one!
You may be thinking what about for little ones between 0-2? There is well known research and guidelines that suggest no screen time for children younger than two years, which is why we recommend trying out the activities in our Online Learning Centre!
Self Care Tips for Parents
Ultimately, it can be hard to be a good parent to your child at home if you’re not looking after yourself. The NSW Government put together a self-care resource for stay at home parents to stay grounded and calm. It discusses the importance of practising gratitude and appreciating the time that you get to spend with your kids, as well as taking quiet time out for yourself to journal, read or meditate to ensure you wind down from a busy day.
1. Having a plan:
We keep coming back to it, but that’s only because it’s an important one! Keeping a schedule ensures your kids have certainty and stability, as well as keeping you sane! Your schedule doesn’t just have to include playtime for the kids, it can also include alone time for yourself or time to reconnect with your partner.
2. Take time for quiet self care:
This can include meditation, reading, journaling, anything you like! Getting your thoughts down or re-setting your energy can help to maintain a positive healthy household environment.
3. The power of music:
Putting on some music around the house, or an interesting podcast can be a special time for you to enjoy your favourite songs, but you’ll also be surprised how it can calm kids’ energies if on in the background and give them something to focus on.
4. Find ways to connect with friends and family:
This could be online during a busy day at home, or just making sure you take time out on evenings and weekends to talk to someone other than a preschooler!
5. Make time for your hobbies:
Working and being a parent may be time consuming, but it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t get to do the other things you enjoy. Even 30 mins a day will transform your mood and give you a sense of accomplishment.
- Nichd.nih.gov. 2022. [online] Available at: <https://www.nichd.nih.gov/sites/default/files/publications/pubs/documents/seccyd_06.pdf> .
- Ahmrc.org.au. 2022. [online] Available at: <https://www.ahmrc.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/AHM_Work-from-home-toolkit_Online.pdf> .
- Verywell Family. 2022. The 7 Best Apps for Toddlers of 2022. [online] Available at: <https://www.verywellfamily.com/best-apps-to-get-for-toddlers-4582650> .
- Too much time on screens? Screen time effects and guidelines for children and young people (no date) AIFS. Available at: https://aifs.gov.au/resources/short-articles/too-much-time-screens#:~:text=For%20screen%20time%2C%20the%20guidelines,children%20aged%202%E2%80%935%20years
- Education.nsw.gov.au. 2022. Self-care tips for parents. [online] Available at: <https://education.nsw.gov.au/parents-and-carers/parent-and-carers-toolkit/self-care-tips-for-parents> .