Let’s be honest, entertaining children and making sure the dog is happy and exercised is challenging enough in usual circumstances. But when we are forced to stay indoors with the current lockdown in place (in our case we live in a 2 bed apartment with no garden!) it can be even more of a challenge. However, Victoria and I have taken to the lockdown challenge and Hiro & Wolf have has asked us to share our journey so far and give our tops tips on entertaining kids and the dog at home [read on their blog here].
Firstly, walking the dog. It’s important that they do get out the house and that this is prioritised. The rules around the lockdown is that they must be walked within your one form of exercise so Sam and I take turns and one of us will give him a long walk in the morning and I will go out with the girls (I have 2 under age 3) for a walk or I will go for a run. It’s hard to cram it all in and hats off to all of the single parents out there however getting out for fresh air is so important for mental health so this is a great opportunity to plan in long walks with the dog.
Now on to the kids entertainment! I’m sure other mums just like me had a wobble at the thought of losing nursery days or school closing and how on earth do I occupy them. To add to the challenge, we live in a reasonably sized 2 bedroom apartment with a small balcony so I had to make sure there is structure to the days and everyone is entertained using the space we have. I have never planned so many activities and I now have even more respect for nursery & school teachers for their creativity!
The games that have worked the best for us are the ones where we can incorporate Sophias endless energy whilst having Frank participating, otherwise she gets a little too excitable with him and they get up to mischief. The following were the games that worked for us:
Imaginary bus ride: put 2 chairs side by side and place one in front for the driver to sit on (obviously add more chairs if you have more ’passengers’). Frank sat on his own seat on the bus which Sophia loved and the fact he was involved in our bus journey. We sang the “wheels on the bus” and we went over pretend bumps and looked out the window talking about all of the fun stuff that we could see on the way! Also top tip, cut paper up for tickets and use pretend (or real) money for payment. This will teach them about money and paying for things.
Treat treasure hunt: get your toddler to hide some treats around the room and watch as doggy gets them.
Pooch Chill Games: if you have outdoor space and the sun is shining then do some water play in the garden and set up a cosy spot for your dog
Build a fort: Use chairs and a blanket over the top (books to hold it in place) great for the kids and the Pooches just chill but can be close to you.
Pretend tea party: invite cuddly toys and sit around drinking tea. I put treats out due frank so he really joined in and had fun
Dog training for kids: Victoria did a great one with Arthur from Kirby Dog Training page where she wrapped up an old tea towel and put treats in it so that Rupert could find them, fun for both. Also, just teaching kids to give treats to your dog after calling commands like “sit” “wait” etc. They love it when they listen to them.
Other than these suggestions, just don’t stress and worry so much, as long as the dogs are being walked, you get some fresh air and the kids are being entertained, including a bit of screen time to chill – don’t feel guilty. Your positive mood is what kids and dogs pick up on, so try your best to stay happy, motivated and chilled and most of all just enjoy your time with them! We are all winging it as parents and now we are all winging it on a lock down. We are in it together. We hope some of the games will help, we always put new ideas on our stories on Instagram so follow our page for new tips @poochesandprams ☺️