By Terryalice Lewis, Tots Play 

These truly are strange times but they don’t have to drive you crazy. Here are a few ways to help from a parent or carer’s point of view:

• Have a routine
The odd PJ day is fine, but getting up, showering and dressing gives you a sense of purpose and normality, especially if you are working from home.

• Try to do as many things in your day as you would normally do 
If you used to go to baby classes with your little one, then find an equivalent online.

Keep in contact with friends and family as much as possible 
Via Facetime, Zoom, phone calls. 

• Take a break from social media 
It is a great tool to communicate with friends but it can also be overwhelming. There will be people posting pictures of all the fun stuff they are doing and how much they are achieving: remember that is just a snapshot of their day. I can guarantee that the rest of the time they will be struggling with knowing what to do with their child next, just like you and I.

• Be careful how much news you read
It can take over your thoughts. Yes this is really bad and, yes, we need to follow the rules, but we also need to think of our mental health. 

• Talk to your children about what is happening
They will know that life is different at the moment, sometimes a ‘good different’ because you are with them all the time, but they need to know why they don’t see their friends anymore or attend the groups that made up part of their weekly routine. It is very easy for them to think that it is their fault: it is important to explain it to them in a clear, honest way.

• Keep talking! 
If at any time you feel you aren’t able to cope, then talk to someone. Anyone!

If you’d like to print off and colour in your own Covid-19 Explained cartoon, click here

Some activities …

From a child’s point of view there are lots of activities that you can do at home with your little ones:

• Pop over to the National Tots Play lockdown group 
There are lots of videos on there about how to make sensory play items at home as well as sample classes for you to try.

Follow a farming page that does Facebook live, especially if they are lambing
Alice and I have been following this one

Gather together a sensory basket 
This is a collection of objects that you can find around the house that babies and children don’t often get to play with. For example a shiny collection would have saucepans, spoons, mirrors, tin foil and any other reflective material. All of these items are safe for a baby to explore if supervised.

YouTube’s Kids’ Channel 
There are all sorts of nursery rhymes and cartoons: you are not being a bad parent if you let them watch it – especially if you need to get something done. 

Every child enjoys movement 
At Tots Play we combine music and yoga moves. Even just playing music and bouncing them around on your hip can be enough. Movement stimulates their vestibular system, where the brain, ears and eyes talk to each other to help develop their balance. Why not try it at home?

Terryalice Lewis runs Tots Play Bexhill and Hastings West,
a baby and toddler developmental playgroup for children from birth to 4 years. You can find her at 

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