Hello everyone, I hope you and your families are safe and well.
This week we will be covering a way to put your child (or yourself) back together after a meltdown in lockdown, as well as fresh ideas for birthdays and boredom busting whilst stuck at home.
Yesterday at 11.46 am, my 10-year-old had a meltdown
A combination of homeschooling with 2 novice parent-teachers and being cooped up inside for weeks without playing with his friends, led to a long-division problem resulting in a emotional collapse. The pressure of lockdown became too much. We don’t think about children in terms of getting stressed: it’s an adult condition related to adult things like work and money and responsibilities. The reality is children get stressed, particularly now, and they lack the experience and tools to deal with it. We calmed him down with the help of this very quick five-finger breathing technique (thank you, Jud Brewer, MD, PhD).
Calm your child in 30 seconds with Five-Finger breathing
Tell the child to fan out his hand like a star and the place the index finger of one hand on the outside of the little finger on the other hand. Then tell them to breathe in as they trace up to the tip of the pinky, and breathe out as they trace down the inside of the pinky. Then on the next inhale, trace up the outside of next finger, and on the exhale, trace down that finger. Continue until they’ve traced their entire hand, and then reverse the process as they trace from your thumb back to your pinky. There’s a video here that may help. Then give them a big bowl of their favourite ice cream and let them binge watch telly for the rest of the day. That last bit was not suggested by Jud Brewer, MD, PhD.
Something beautiful and uplifting
As children, we gaze with awe at this almighty lump of cheddar. As adults, unless it’s up to tricks like an eclipse, we tend to take it for granted. I challenge you not to be moved by this short video: A new view of the moon.
Fresh Ideas for celebrating kids birthdays in lockdown
I have to thank my brother and sister-in-law for these fabulous ideas that went down a storm for Murray’s 11th birthday. All games were conducted over a video call, took about an hour, and only resulted in Murray being sick once.
- The Great Birthday Pizza Delivery: Select 3-5 best friends (budget dependant) and coordinate a synchronised pizza delivery to their homes. Make sure everyone is on a video call for the arrival. Plant some candles in the mozzarella and sing happy birthday together.
- Video Treasure Hunt: Create 10 clues for everyday objects that can be found in any house. Read the clues out one by one and the first child to solve all the clues and collect the objects wins. Here’s 5 to get you started.
- Clue 1: The more I dry the wetter I get. (Answer: a towel.)
- Clue 2: Find something that’s black and white and read all over. (Answer: a newspaper.)
- Clue 3: I make marks wherever I go, I shrink as your ideas grow. (Answer: a pencil.)
- Clue 4 : I’m on mum’s left and her right and hopefully not too tight. (Answer: mum’s shoe.)
- Clue 5: I’m orange and sound like a parrot. (Answer: A carrot.)
- Blindfolded Yum-Yucks: The birthday boy or girl is blindfolded – everyone else spectates via video. 10 different food concoctions are prepared by siblings or parents – the ratio of yum to yuck food is up to you! The blindfolded kid has to guess the ingredients by taste only. Start with something simple like an apple sprinkled with cinnamon and then dial it up to ice cream with french fries (sounds yuck but is surprisingly yum), tomato & peanut butter, chocolate with brown sauce…you get the picture!
Don’t forget to get friends and family to create a free video celebration for the birthday boy or girl so everyone can play a part in the big day.
The ultimate boredom-busting family day in lockdown
Create your own ‘Perfect Day’ (by Lou Reed) video in lockdown. Have a look at the Petherick family here – brilliant and bonkers, they clearly enjoyed making it. The bar is mighty high but you can do it! We’ll give free personalised book and map vouchers to the best ones – please send your videos in by 15th May. If nothing else, you’ll be left with a hilarious video memento to help look back on your time in lockdown with a smile. I know it’s hard to believe, but one day this will end one.
Who wouldn’t want an ant named in their honour?
We’ve all had to be a little more organised for life to run smoothly during the lockdown. Ants must be the ultimate home organisers. Back in 2014, we had a real ant farm in our office and each day we would perform a small naming ceremony so that every new book recipient had an ant named in their honour. When that person received their book they could then go online and see what their ant was doing. On the 4th of June, 2015 a terrible thing happened. A day that still leaves me cold. Under the cover of night, an army of rogue Spanish ants perpetrated our ant farm and went on a rampage of slaughtering and pillaging. No one was left standing. After a period of mourning, our techies got to work building a digital ant farm, a reincarnation in pixels. Today, we call it The Colony (‘Mischief, Mayhem and a Million little legs!’). Everyone who receives one of our personalised birthday or milestone books also receives a digital ant named in their honour. They can then go online and observe the antics of their ant: who may be the hair salon, out jogging or simply contemplating the complexities of life.
We try our hardest to keep the glass half full. Over the weeks of lockdown, this blog has been focused on helping you get you through lockdown by deliberately digging out the positives and making the most out of staying home. We feel we don’t need to remind you of the harsh realities of the pandemic as the news and social media more than compensate on this front.
Stay safe everyone.
Keep smiling (from behind that face mask).
It’s going to be alright.