While there are lots of ideas around for different age groups, here are some ideas that the whole family can enjoy together:
have a movie night, choose a movie together and add some popcorn
play a game of chess, dominoes, jacks or card games
try a board game – they can be great fun!
how about a dance mat or playing a game on the Wii
ping pong, air hockey, tennis, darts, pool or snooker
have a pamper night with facemasks, foot soaks and hand massages
if you have a ‘gamer’ in the house - play together. Teens find it hilarious to see how bad their parents are at gaming!
go outside – play some football, frisbee, dodgeball, piggy in the middle or stuck in the mud or go for a walk at night. You’ll be amazed at what fun can be had!
share some of your old traditional games – kerbsie, two ball, kick-the-can, skipping
have a picnic, cook a meal together, or plan a BBQ. Sleep outside!
revisit traditional games such as draughts, chess, card games, board games etc.
make mealtimes a family event and involve everybody in the preparation
weather permitting avail of your garden if this is possible. Try having a picnic for lunch
maybe you could even take advantage of the time to give the garden a makeover and involve the whole family in the process. Gardening and painting is very therapeutic for parents and children alike. Connecting with nature can have a positive impact on you and your family’s mental wellbeing
train to be Ireland's Fittest Family! Whether this be making an indoor or outdoor obstacle course or following one of the many online Fitness Expert on YouTube. Exercising together is a great way to keep the mind and body healthy. Keeping children physical can also aid their concentration levels and ability to focus on their prescribed schoolwork throughout the course of the day
if you have the space, try to play as many outdoor games as possible hail, rain or snow. Embrace nature and all of its elements. Frisbee, tennis, football and catch are just a few outdoor sports that the family can enjoy together
Here’s what the International Play Association has to say on the subject of screen time:
Most families want to find a reasonable balance between time spent on screens and time for other types of play and activities, including family time.
If you have access to screens at home during the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic, they can be a great way for your child to:
keep in touch with friends, school, social groups and family
share experiences, concerns and ideas
have a laugh and enjoy themselves
get absorbed in a game that takes their full attention
take part in creative activities
access information, news and advice
It’s understandable to relax some of the usual rules in the current crisis. But spending all day on screens can have negative effects, as well as providing your child with important opportunities and experiences.
For example, your child may find it difficult to get to sleep, or they may miss out on other activities.
Some ways to help your child find a healthy balance:
show you understand and are interested. Let them know you understand that playing on screens isn’t all good or bad. You could try playing some of their games, or get them to teach you about apps they like
keep moving. Encourage your child to take regular breaks, rather than sitting still or lying down for too long. They can walk around, and do star jumps or press-ups to increase their heart rate
get outside. If possible, encourage them to get some outside exercise
look out of the window. It’s good for your child’s eyes to change focus by looking at the horizon or distant buildings
try keeping your mealtimes screen-free. You’ll have time to talk and appreciate your food
try to avoid screens before bedtime. This will make it easier to fall asleep, and to get up in the morning
plan together. Discuss with your child how long they feel it’s ok to use screens each day. Get them to make a plan, and ask what would help them stick to it
remember. Older children might enjoy doing things they did when they were younger or playing with favourite old toys. This can give them a sense of reassurance and security
Some advice for grown-ups:
try to avoid repeatedly checking updates on the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic. Try making a conscious decision to turn off or mute notifications. And try only checking the news a couple of times a day
Babies and very young children
Babies can be attracted to screens. This is especially true if people around them are using screens. But the most important things babies and very young children need for their development don’t come from screens. They are about human contact and family members talking, cuddling, singing and playing with them.
Below is the WHO’s recommendation for babies and very young children:
Image: WHO’s recommendation for screen time for babies and very young children