IN her weekly column, the mum of four discusses the ups and downs of family life. Today Peta, who is married to top cyclist Mark Cavendish, talks about keeping the kids busy during social distancing.
I DON’T need to mention the elephant in the room. We are in strange, scary unknown times. Nobody, especially me, has any answers.
However, it seems inevitable that we are heading towards prolonged periods indoors with our nearest, dearest . . . and I’m sure they won’t mind me saying it, most irritating people.
Let’s not pretend that this time can just be used to meditate and read.
It’s going to be intense, especially for families with kids bouncing off the walls and a limited choice of options on how to amuse them, while avoiding losing your marbles.
Some humans will be lovingly crafting a schedule that will enrich the children’s sponge-like minds, finishing off the day with quiet reflection and aligning their chakras.
I wish that was me. It’s not.
In our house, we have children between the age of one and 14.
How can I tailor make a “Cavendish-rriculum” that benefits them all at the same time. I can’t.
I also will not drag myself over hot coals in order to do so.
But that does not mean we will not learn and explore – together and alone.
My teen can learn a bit about running a house day to day – sorry, mate.
They can all chip in with cooking and preparing the table.
You might discover a potential star
I’ll probably get them to write a menu and lay the table like a restaurant to add a bit of fun.
I’ll try to find something they are interested in – whether it’s tadpoles, Egypt or fashion and get them cracking on with a project, or even giving a presentation to the rest of the family.
As a child I was an attention-seeking little creep and used to love to put on a “play”.
I realise now how selfish and boring of me that was, but it entertained me for hours.
Get the kids to make up and act a story or if you have multiple offspring get a little talent show on the go – you might even discover a potential star you didn’t know you had.
Now the schools in England will be closing, as they are in the rest of the country, they will set work and guidelines and help as much as they can.
It’s important to keep our wee ones’ minds busy. But no less important is fun and happiness.
At times when it would be easy to find a fear at every door we must be aware that our little ones will pick up on anguish and while they must know to be vigilant, we don’t want them to be overly burdened.
Games, activities and a bit of monitored screen time won’t go amiss.
My top tips are to put on scavenger hunts for random objects around the house, follow YouTube videos on drawing or children’s origami (it’s addictive), make potions and perfumes with leaves and petals from the garden, get them to make their own currency with their faces on the money and then play maths games, make dens.
If all else fails, get them to have a middle-of-the-day bath.
It kills some time, chills them out and is way more exciting than bath before bed.
And you can always try to steal five minutes of peace and quiet yourself afterwards.