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Things To Do With Kids While Self-Isolating At Home During a Pandemic...

What works while self isolating with kids?

  • By keeping your kids engaged and happy you'll all be happier.

  • Set up a routine with a variety of activity types: active v passive, exciting v relaxing, etc

  • Discuss new expectations ahead of time

  • Set up a reward system linking privileges to cooperation by noticing good behaviour

Listed below are some activities you could try.

You'll be amazed at how much of an educational layer you can add to things you may already be doing. Many of these activities are open ended so cater well to varied age groups. These activities are pitched for 3-13 year olds.

The links with an asterisk have been activated and show language, maths, knowledge & social skills, that can developed through these activities.

Mother and Daughter

Self isolating at home can be a relationship building time with your kids, if you're smart about it and set things up to work well. By keeping your kids busy, motivated and happy you'll all be happier.

(And if you think I don't know what it's like to be you going through this, I've spent weeks, indoors with 25 preschoolers, during periods of inclement weather. And weeks camping in wet weather with kids. Sometimes our numbers swelled to 55 children when buddies joined us.


We had fun, we learnt a lot... And it made our relationship stronger, not weaker.)

Kids' Paintings

2. Discuss expectations and responsibilities.

Go to link: Setting up Routines to assist you

  • Explain that all of you have responsibilities you have to attend to.

  • Make up a simple routine chart with visuals (and display it) so children know what's expected at any given time Children could draw the visuals for it or you could prepare it together on the computer

  • Afternoon privileges/games/free time are linked to being cooperative during morning activities

3. Set up a reward system. For being cooperative in the morning, there are afternoon privileges. For more information go to:

Why Spend Positive Time Together

This could be choosing a privilege

  • evening meal or dessert

  • bedtime stories

  • afternoon games

  • free time activity for the day

  • family board games

  • t.v. programmes

  • movie choice

  • dance music

You can have children take turns or choose the activity they're responsible for. And have this linked to their privileges. For example:

  • cleaning up after activities

  • setting the table

  • unstacking the dishwasher

  • keeping their rooms tidy

And be careful what you notice. If you're noticing the child who is being difficult you're likely to get difficult behaviour from the others. Kids notice what gets attention. If you make it positive wherever possible, you're likely setting yourself up for success.

Taking Care of the Kids

What worked was, designing a simple routine so kids knew what was going to happen at certain times of the day (although I allowed flexibility if longer times were needed to complete activities.) And I made the mornings more structured and the afternoons less so.


Depending on the age and maturity of the kids involved they could be involved in designing their daily routine as long as all areas are covered.



Very active activities versus passive activities, engaged learning versus relaxation, creativity versus structured activity, mundane versus excitment

Plan for down time

1. Set up a routine... The key to success is variety.

A daily routine for children aged 3-10 years could include some of the following.

  • exercise (Your kids can do a daily work out with you)

  • hygiene

  • food prep (breakfast)

  • structured learning time school

  • healthy snack

  • outside time or dance time (you can join in)

  • food prep time (lunch)

  • reading refer my favourite books

  • creativity time

  • learning games time

  • completing responsibilities time

  • outside time/ dance time or free play time

  • passive time (free play time)

  • bath and bed

Funny active family of four young adult

REMEMBER: Kids will usually choose positive time with you over most other things. If you acknowledge and appreciate cooperative behaviour you're much more likely to get more of it... Seriously.


Being in a lock down situation with challenging children could become more difficult than it needs to be, particularly if you make the mistake of noticing bad behaviour.


Go to Behaviour Strategies That Work

There are more than 125 ideas on Best Parenting for parents self-isolating with kids at home to keep them occupied and happy.


To find out how to set up your days to succeed

check out some of the ideas below:


Best Parenting is a high quality parenting website designed with child and family success in mind. It highlights what successful parents do differently to those who struggle. Best Parenting provides free online resources for busy parents who want the best practical advice on: how to give kids a best start in life, better tips for parenting toddlers, effective child rearing strategies, behaviour management tips, successful goal setting and organizational strategies for successful families, easy family dinner recipes, self-care tips for time-poor parents and free kids learning games. The aim of Best Parenting is to provide quality practical parenting tips and advice to best help children and families succeed, using the convenience of a website.

This website provides examples of what worked for me over decades and you are welcome to use these ideas as you see fit but you do so at your own risk. Best Parenting does not provide any guarantee that this information will work in every circumstance with every family or with every child. It is your responsibility as a user of this website to ensure that you adhere to any recommended safety suggestions either implicit or explicit on this site and supervise your children while playing any games suggested. Similarly users of this website are advised to follow any recommendations for seeking professional advice as all information on this site is generic. Best Parenting is an independent website and is not affiliated with any other groups, clubs, religious organizations or educational systems.


Best parenting takes time. The best parenting advice ever is simple: Do your best, don't give up and love your children, no matter what. This pandemic time will hopefully be over quickly, but the positive memories you're making with your children could last forever.

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