A Letter to Our Lil’ Kickers Families

March 20, 2020

Dear Lil’ Kickers Families,

We miss you! Our coaches are eager to welcome you back and are prepared to be up and running as soon as possible. Thank you for your patience as we navigate this. It’s an unsettling time and we’re all doing our best to manage the unknown.

We are excited to announce that next week, we will be launching regular online content to stay connected and informed and help your kids burn off some of that quarantine energy!

This content will take a couple of forms:

  1. A weekly video series titled “Lil’ Kickers & Skills Institute At Home Fun” aimed at helping kids stay active and keep up their skills.
  2. A blog called “Beyond the Pitch” that will serve as a child development resource for parents

In the meantime, we hope you are able to enjoy this downtime with your kiddos. While there are a lot of positives to family time, we know it won’t always be easy. Lack of structure, minimal outside resources, added stress, feeling unproductive and/or cooped up can be taxing. We get it! The Lil’ Kickers team has a long-standing history of working with a variety of kids in many situations and have experienced the gamut of life with kids—and we still love what we do! That’s why we’re here to help.

So, whether you are staying inside completely or venturing out to practice your social distancing skills, here are some tips and suggested activities for minimizing the chaos and keeping your little ones entertained:

Tips

    • Try to keep some sort of schedule. Kids need and want boundaries so they can feel safe. In uncertain times such as these, having some sort of predictable schedule can help alleviate boredom and the frustration that comes with it. If your child is in any kind of school setting you can try to mimic a typical classroom day with set times for reading, math, lunch, “recess” or other activities they are used to doing.
    • Minimize news coverage. Stay informed, but streaming the news all day can negatively impact children (and ourselves). Sometimes we forget young kids aren’t able to discern imagery in the same way we can. The repetitiveness can frighten them as they see the information as new each time they view it.
    • Find hope and share positivity. Children feed off the energy in the home. Obviously, any feelings we have are valid and I’m not suggesting otherwise. Spreading hope can just alleviate some of the fears that kids may be feeling and are unable to articulate except through their behavior.
    • Speaking of behavior… it’s really a means of communicating (regardless of age). Sometimes we act out our feelings instead of talking about them. If things feel off with someone in your home, chances are they just want someone to notice. Our Lil’ Kickers coaches are trained to see the person—not the behavior, and to respond to the underlying need. However, in the heat of the moment it can be hard to do (for both of you)! With preschoolers, it might be easier to have them draw or do some sort of art project to communicate how they are doing.
    • Take care of yourself. Make sure you are engaging in activities that fulfill your needs. Carve out some time to exercise, read, stay connected with friends, stimulate your brain—anything that helps fill you up so you can also be attentive to the needs of your kids.

FUN ACTIVITIES:

Kitchen sink bubbles are great for younger kids. Load up your kitchen sink with warm, soapy water, fill it with unbreakable household kitchen items (like sponges, measuring cups, funnels, even a turkey baster!), drag over a chair and let them have at it.

Also great for younger kids are sensory activities. Fill a pan with rice and bury objects in it for them to find or play with shaving cream in the bathtub. You can also find larger sensory tables online. Choose one with a plastic removeable liner for easier clean up—you’ll most likely want to switch up the material you use inside it (water, sand, shaving cream, rice, oatmeal, etc.).

Backyard adventures. Create a scavenger hunt, play old school games like hide and seek, red light, green light or mother, may I. If it’s raining, put on some warm clothes and jump in mud puddles or have a dance party in the rain—you can even google “water cycle” and give your kids a quick science lesson.

Create a wall mural depicting a favorite book or movie using your kid’s artwork. It will give them lots to do and transform a room into a magical place instead of the same 4 walls. Or you can create pictures of clouds shaped like animals or other things and tape them to a ceiling and challenge the kids to figure out what they are or to find certain images.

Build card houses with a deck of cards. I used to love doing this when I was a kid.

At-home cooking lessons. Not only will you teach your child a valuable skill, you’ll give them a sense of accomplishment when they see and taste their creations. There are lots of simple-to-follow recipes available online.

If all else fails, try this. When our kids were young and feeling pent-up we would say, “time to get out the crazies” and they would literally run and jump around the house making as much noise as possible. This helped get out their feelings in ways that weren’t directed at each other. It ended up being a lot of fun, too.

Remember to be kind to yourself and others.

Until next time,

Karen Crowe, MA
Lil’ Kickers Director of Child Development