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Lockdown3 = Quantity Time 10 vs Quality Time??

‘Quality’ time with your kids in lockdown - have you discovered this rare beast!???


So, here we are in Lockdown 3 - well, isn’t this fun?!!

In my Christmas cards this year, I wrote the quote by Alfred Lord Tennyson;

Hope smiles from the threshold of the year to come’

I must have been clinging on to 2021 pretty strongly in the promise that 2020 would take all the bad stuff away with it. The truth is, we’ve been lucky, very lucky indeed. We are still here and healthy and we have lived through some wonderful family times, exploring our home surroundings and the beauty of the Devon countryside more than any other year. There have been stresses and strains, pressures and anxieties but I would be very surprised if anyone has escaped some additional hardships. Some have not been so fortunate.

Time with our children is suddenly very plentiful indeed for a great many of us as schools close at least until February half term. As much as we love our children, like anything, too much of a good thing can be quite intense and tiring. Plus, it is difficult to play ‘teacher’ and parent and ensure that we get our own things done as well as get a little rest too without feeling too fraught!

One of our friends, Dr Maryhan, a child psychologist, advised that her best tip for homeschooling is:

‘Your role is still being a parent, you’re not trying to recreate the situation they have at school’

So for today’s scribblings, we thought we’d concentrate on quality not quantity! Having thought about it, at quite short notice this week, we have a few ideas on how to make some quality time with our children. There are many different approaches in parenting - these are a few tried and tested musings to turn regular, bog standard time into quality time:

1. Frustrated that you’re allowing your child to watch more TV in lockdown? Have a movie night for all the family - make popcorn, get out the snuggly blankets and make hot chocolate with marshmallows and sit together for a little while. A joint activity, and it doesn’t necessarily need to be a kids film, there are child appropriate theatre productions on screen or you could even watch a bit of a nature documentary for example. Today, inspired by something that one of my children was reading about in a book, we watched a bit of ‘Fantasia’. With a love of classical music and nature, this ticked all the boxes and he was mesmerised!

2. There’s loads to do but it’s hard to get on with it when the kids are about? Get them involved! Give them tasks and positions of responsibility and you might achieve more than you think. You can’t always be too precious about the output, but even if it’s related but not actually contributing directly, the kids may want to be a part of what you’re doing more than you think.

3. You’re juggling a whole lot of spinning plates, how does anyone have time for crafts?!

Sometimes it does feel overwhelming, and the pressure to create some sort of masterpiece can be all too much. Don’t worry, there are lots of simple ideas which take very little time but are lovely things to do with your family and super effective, making you feel like a top parent and enjoying it together too!

  • Make an ice decoration! Use moulds filled with water and foraged findings (rosehips, leaves, herbs, petals etc) and put them outside to let them freeze overnight. If you’re super-organised you can add strings to be frozen in so you can hang them in the morning.

  • Make a bird feeding string! String bits of apple, dried fruit and fat balls on to a string and nourish the birds in the cold winter months.

  • Forage for your art! Go out and collect some beautiful wintry findings and be create with them - make a collage or a drawing or use them in part of a picture.

  • Let’s study nature! There are more beautiful things out there in winter than you will imagine. Choose something beautiful to look at more closely, find out what it is, find out what relies upon it and maybe even do a sketch of it.

4. We’ve run out of fun ideas and it’s only week two of lockdown! There are loads of things that can tick the quality box and be fun too. Don’t overcomplicate it. Today I found a video with some piano playing illustrated with colours and another with some musicians playing Vivaldi’s Four Seasons - it gave us an opportunity to talk about the different instruments and the different seasons and how music could portray them and for an older child I could have talked about more complex themes like synesthesia (seeing music in colours) and musical theory or having absolute pitch.

We have a few Planet Action Kits for January available - just five more days until we will be moving on to selling boxes for next month! January’s overall theme is ‘Plan For Change’. It includes loads of fun thought-provoking exercises to encourage kids to love the Earth as well as an opportunity to ‘Plant For The Planet’ and decorate illustrate your very own eco-calendar. Fun for all the family, we have done the thinking so you don’t have to. Flexible, carefully thought out and creating that bit of quality time you have been finding challenging, it is worth having a look and ordering on our website.

We love to see and hear about your creations so do drop us a note or post on our social media sites so we can give you a bit of encouragement!

“We were blown away by your box. I love how it was pitched and the design - all just hangs beautifully together. The kids were genuinely really interested and talked a lot about it!”

~ PAK subscriber ~

FOR PLANET AND PEOPLE is a weekly blog conversation by ‘Planet & People’ to reflect our values and behaviours and encourage open conversation on topical eco-issues.

We are the creators of 'Planet Action Kit', inspiring kids to LOVE the Earth. PAK is an educational resource and subscription activity box providing personalised learning resources engaging budding planet-friendly kids. The activities focus on the four main themes: Love, Observe, inVolve and Enjoy and are centred around matters of environment and sustainability.

Find out more on our Website, Facebook group, and Instagram Feed.

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