Being a parent under normal circumstances is tough. Add to that the pressure of being a teacher plus full-time entertainer, and it’s next level.
Lockdown has made us look at family differently. Spending all your time in a confined space can be challenging especially with bored kids who are relying on you for everything.
It’s important to remember that you’re not alone. Helen Thorn and Ellie Gibson from UK’s No 1 parenting podcast Scummy Mummies are here to save the day with their (mostly) practical advice.
How do I keep kids motivated to do homework?
Helen – Keeping kids motivated to do school homework is really tough at the moment. The main thing is bribery – if you do your homework you get screen time or you get six ice lollies or you get to eat all the Haribo until you’re sick.
You have to be kind to yourself. I know these are tough times and you don’t have to replicate the school classroom in your house.
Ellie – My husband is doing most of the homeschooling and he has brought in a rewards system where if the kids do really well at school or put in a lot of effort, they get a gold star.
How much screen time should we allow the kids?
Helen – I would say have a few little rules in place. In my house we say no screens in the toilet, no screens on the trampoline, no screens at the dinner table and maybe don’t take it to the park. Restrict screen time between 8-10 hours a day and find the real balance.
Ellie – I’ve found in our house that rules work if they’re set and everyone understands what they are. We have a rule where from Monday to Friday there is no screen time in the mornings. They seem to have accepted that which means we don’t have to have a row every morning.
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How do we keep our kids active during lockdown?
Helen – One of the things I really appreciate that my kids do is Martial Arts on each other or just fighting and kicking each other. Also, if you want to keep them active then hide the remote in different places in the house and get them to run around. I find it motivates them quite well.
Ellie – We are still doing the Joe Wicks PE in this house. One good tip to keep them moving is to hide sweets around the house.
I’ve just had a baby, can I access the health visitor service?
Helen – The good news is that you can still access them, but it is going to be online on a one-to-one system. Contact your local doctor’s surgery or health service and they should be able to connect you.
Ellie – My sister-in-law has just had a baby and she’s still getting phone calls from a health visitor. I know the health visitors are doing all they can to support women and dads to help them through this time.
The main tip, if I have one, is that you are doing your best. We all are. It’s not going to be perfect. This is a different time and as long as the kids are happy, for at least some of the time, that’s all we can ask of ourselves.