How to keep the kids at home (and your sanity)

After 48 hours of coronavirus lockdown, I have a newfound admiration for 3 things:

  1. Single parent families.  Monday was chaos. My wife had to go to work so it was just me with 2 boys, (aged 6 & 10), detained in the confines of our flat with a poorly planned routine. I naively thought I’d get my work done in the lounge whilst they would do their homework in their bedrooms.  4 hours in and I hadn’t even opened an email and the flat was a wreck. On the plus side, I had managed to do 3D drawing with Enzo, origami foxes with Leo, a math worksheets and designed an energy-burning PE course from room to room. My wife arrived home in the afternoon to save the day and within minutes organised a dance class for our children and our neighbour’s kids (I know, I know, but they’re like siblings) whilst I collapsed in a heap in the kitchen. Homeschooling whilst working from home is a juggling act not for the faint hearted and so much easier with 2 parents. To all those one parent families out there, I salute every one of you!
  2. Teachers & Educators. I  realised that I must also be among the tens of thousands of parents discovering a new level of appreciation for their children’s teachers.  Nuria & Miss Natalie I salute you both! And I take back all the grumbles about the long-division and the fact my 6 year old still prefers to write from right to left. You are doing a fabulous job and deserve a pay rise immediately.
  3. Hospital Staff. Whilst we’re safely at home grumbling about our lack of freedom, yet enjoying the quality family time that we complain we don’t get enough of, they’re in the trenches of a pandemic doing everything they can to save the lives of others whilst not losing their own. You all deserve medals.

Here are five ways to keep the kids at home (and your sanity):

Stick the younger ones to their drawing pads stick the young ones to their drawing pads

Draw the letters A to Z on consecutive pages of a notebook and ask your child to think of an animal starting with each letter and then draw it. Take a photo of your favourite animals and send it to us and we’ll give the best ones a free Wise(ish) Words for Kids book. 

Burn-up their energy with a home PE courseburn up their energy with a home PE course

Take 6 plastic cups and place a sweet (or piece of pasta) in each for every kid playing. Put the cups high and low in different places around the house and garden. Give each child an empty cup. They have to collect a sweet from each of the cups (but not eat it yet!).

To make thing fun, set different ways to get from cup to cup:
– Walking backwards
– On all fours
– Running in slow motion
– Without touching the ground
– Hopping (leave this to last as hopping with a cup full of sweets is not easy).
– The child who completes all the exercises perfectly without spilling a single sweet is the winner!

Feeds their brains & dreamsfeed their brains & dreams

Nasa Worksheets for the budding rocket scientist

National Geographic fun for the young David Attenborough.

Time Machine for the curious historian

De-stress with a virtual happy hourde-stress with a virtual happy hour

Organise a virtual drink with friends using google hangout, Skype or Facetime. We’ve just cancelled a ski holiday with friends so we’ll add goggles and woolly hats to the virtual occasion!

Avoid panic over-buying of toilet rollavoid panic over-buying of toilet roll

This handy website lets you know how many days you will last on current supply! Pure genius: How much toilet paper?

Birthday  ideas in lockdown: create a free video celebration

Visiting friends and family is off limits but it doesn’t mean birthdays and other special occasions can’t be celebrated in lockdown.  The Video of Everyone creates a collaborative video montage that you can send to someone on their special day, or just to cheer them up and let them know they are not forgotten! Besides, it’s a fun thing to do with the kids.  Here’s one we made for inspiration.

During times like this we’re fortunate to live in a digital world.  We can send our happy faces to a loved one’s screen, just inches from their real face,  with no risk of germs hopping over. Pandemic sufferers of the past would not believe our luck! 

Final thought. Remember that you’re not an irresponsible human being just because you missed the latest statistics on the Coronavirus. See these days as an opportunity to enjoy the extra time with kids at home, as well as with your friends and neighbours – at a distance of course. Leave the rest to the experts. 

Stay safe. 

Keep smiling (from behind that mask). 

Everything’s going to be okay.


  1. Julie Mallabar Reply

    Thank you so much for your encouraging, positive and optimistic message. It made me smile ?

    • Jonny Biggins Reply

      Hi Julie, thanks for your feedback and so glad you’re enjoyed the post.
      Keep safe, keep smiling.

  2. Fiona Mellor Reply

    Hi Johnny
    I really enjoyed reading your blog . I am on lock down with my two youngest children 11 & 13 . I also care for my four grandchildren 10, 9, 5 and 2. Stephen works part-time. Home schooling is a challenge alright with five even harder. We don’t always get it all done, but that’s ok. We are so lucky to live on a farm in the country so we are not on total lock down. Thank you for your ideas. I had a beautiful book done by your company a couple of years ago. I must order again. Take care and stay safe

    • Jonny Biggins Reply

      Hi Fiona,
      My word you have your hands full! I hope you’re coping well and the good weather on the farm is helping all those children burn up energy.
      Stay safe, keep smiling,

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