We all know that parenting is no walk in the park. It becomes even less of a walk in the park when a walk in the park is pretty much all you can do with your kids, and you live with chronic pain.
Self-isolation and the UK Government’s coronavirus restrictions are tough for everyone, but #LockdownLife presents unique challenges for parents and children. Perhaps you are adapting to working from home and don’t have childcare support to keep the little blighters busy. Perhaps you don’t have a garden and your youngsters are going stir crazy. Perhaps your child’s school has set completely unrealistic amounts of homework – or not enough to keep growing minds stimulated. The list of possible challenges and stresses is long.
Unfortunately, for people who experience chronic pain and reduced mobility, the pressures of parenting during lockdown can be exacerbated. Parenting activities and emotions can be negatively affected by chronic pain, regardless of the current pandemic. Our recent contributor Carole shared her experience of single motherhood with chronic pain, explaining that there were limits to the physical parenting she could offer her daughter.
Add the increased demands of parenting in a lockdown, and many mums and dads who live with pain are likely to be facing unprecedented difficulties. But we’re here to help…
Ready, Steady, Play!
To support parents who experience ongoing pain, we’ve put together a bumper list of things to do with the kids that will be gentle on your body. We’ve hand-picked brilliant at-home activities for kids which are low-impact for parents. To keep youngsters busy and stimulated during self-isolation, bookmark this resource and dip back in when you’re in need of some isolation inspiration.
We also thoroughly recommend joining the Family Lockdown Tips & Ideas page on Facebook, where members post tonnes of brilliant suggestions every day. With over a million members there are all sorts of clever ideas, helpful resources and amazing pearls of wisdom to be found here. We especially love the free online creative writing classes and live quizzes for kids!
1. YouTube PE Classes
Lots of parents worldwide are worrying about their youngsters getting enough exercise at the moment. Although a few weeks of downtime is highly unlikely to affect childrens’ health, we all know that children with energy to burn are a whole lot harder to handle at home. If you or your children aren’t able to get outside to blow off some steam, there are lots of good ways to help them tire themselves out without leaving the house. YouTube is an especially good source. We recommend the following videos:
- P.E. with Joe, with new classes uploaded each week
- A “Rainbow Yoga” class for all ages from Yoga with Adriene
- A 20 minute hip-hop dance class from Lucie Fink
- Cosmic Kids Yoga, which also includes songs and dances, great for littler ones
2. Be the referee or ringleader
If reduced mobility and chronic pain make it difficult for you to be active alongside your kids, you can take part and keep them active by refereeing or inspiring their activities.
That might mean holding the stopwatch (or smartphone!) while they try to run a personal best, or designing a garden obstacle course using household objects which they can set up outside. Obstacles could include throwing sponges into washing up bowls from a distance, tiger crawling under chairs or leaping laundry basket hurdles!
Why not set your young’uns a new challenge every day or every week? Fun goals to work towards could include doing 3 cartwheels in a row, doing a headstand for 30 seconds, holding a plank for 2 minutes, doing 50 star jumps, or skipping with a skipping rope for 5 minutes without stopping.
3. Share the love
Getting your children stuck into projects which help others during this difficult time is a brilliant way to teach them about being charitable – and talk to them about what’s going on. These activities can also be low impact for you.
Why not get your kids to make rainbows for your front windows to show support for the NHS (you can even do this directly onto the windows if you have wipeable chalk paints)? Or encourage them to write letters to residents at your nearby nursing home. You could even get them to put on a talent show you can film and send to an older relative who may be lonely at home.
4. Take a virtual school trip
With the world’s museums, galleries and zoos all closed due to the COVID-19 outbreak, many of these attractions have opened virtual tours. Now you can spend an afternoon visiting the following world-famous destinations (and many more) without leaving your living room…
- The British Museum
- The Louvre in Paris
- The Met in New York
- The Picasso Museum in Barcelona
- The Women’s History Museum in Virginia
Before you take your virtual tour, why not pick out five items you want your youngster to find and learn more about? You could ask them to find three amazing facts at the museum, or create a scavenger hunt with questions about the exhibits.
5. Get crafty
Creative, sit-down projects are great for parents who have limited mobility as a result of chronic pain. These low-impact activities for kids can be undertaken at a table and don’t have to involve a lot of fetching, carrying and setting up (if you plan a little in advance).
Here are a few of our favourite ‘sit down and make’ activities for kids during coronavirus self-isolation:
- Paint some rocks – this simple idea can be heaps of fun, as rocks can become, well – almost anything. From weird-looking pets to pretty patterned doorstops, there are all sorts of amazing ways to decorate rocks using marker pens, poster paints, acrylics – you name it.
- Make friendship bracelets – friendship is very important during self-isolation. This activity can help your kids stay close to their mates by making friendship bracelets which can be saved up for the first day back at school, or sent in the post. Here are some easy tutorials.
- Make a pom pom chandelier – this rainbow coloured creation is thoroughly delightful. If you don’t have a pom pom maker, you can create the fluffy spheres by hand like this.
Of course there are thousands of alternative low-impact activities and crafts which parents with chronic pain can try with kids at home. The Family Lockdown Facebook page is a great place to start, but a quick Google for “indoor activities for kids” will turn up endless inspiration too.
Going Beyond Lockdown
These household activities are all great options for keeping locked down little ones entertained, but the fun can last much longer than coronavirus will. Encouraging exercise and getting crafty with your kids will be a great way to spend quality family time together in the future when the quarantine restrictions are lifted.
Over to You
Have you discovered any great low-impact, pain-free things to do with kids during the coronavirus lockdown? We’d love to learn more about your experiences as a parent with chronic pain. We’d also love to share your ideas, tips, tricks and stories with other readers. Contribute to our community below or join us on Facebook and Instagram.