Keeping a 12-year-old busy during abnormal times


Here we are, doing our bit, staying indoors.  As soon as the Danish government announced the country was shutting down, there was panic. I felt a little flutter in my tummy and not in a good way (for many reasons but I will stick to the subject).

In our home we have strict boundaries regarding electronics usage during the week (including the TV) and what do most 12-year olds like to do?  Watch YouTube, TV, TikTok and of course make a mess.  I feared arguing with my 12-year-old over what she thinks are unfair house rules. From experience she only ever feels the need of using electronics when she is bored or tired or both.

My problem was that we normally spend a lot of time outdoors, we haven’t lived in Denmark long so we are often exploring our neighbourhood.  Honestly, I don’t have much for us to be creative (not even glue or plain paper) massive parenting fail.

Here is what we did to pass the time together, somethings worked, other we failed but had fun doing:

  • Homemade sensory play:

After Oscar’s morning nap both my daughter and I will look for things around the house that we would like Oscar to feel (for example different fabrics, surfaces).  This was a great way for all of us to bond and most importantly my daughter learnt about what items are acceptable to play with when playing with babies (I’m prepping my future babysitter).  One added bonus, she learnt about different types of fabrics which comes in handy for sorting washing (small win).

  • Making Lunches together:

This was my favourite, Luella was a super fussy eater and can be agitated/stressed by new foods, this was a really nice way for her to be involved in the process of cooking and food without the pressure of time.  Also, great life skills! Here are some of the things we made:

    • Omelette with spinach and cheese- everyones favourite, specially the kids
    • Scramble eggs on toast (or rye bread, tortilla wrap) with mashed avocado
    • Feta cheese salad
    • Jacket potatoes with cheese and tuna
    • Red lentils with spinach and feta (she hated this one)
    • Pancakes with fruits (bonus with Nutella)
  • Cleaning

Seriously, it can be made fun! I eased her in by asking her to help me clean my wardrobe we tried on clothes whilst dusting, this motivated Luella to clean her room, it took her 3 days! Slowly through the weeks we moved to cleaning the kitchen doors, other doors, the windows and skirting boards, I was winning hehe.  We had a small water fight when cleaning the doors and really good chats.  I learned a lot about YouTubers specially KSI, my daughters’ favourite. By the end of it she was also helping washing the dishes, another win.

  • Crafts

We took 20 mins every other day, chose a topic and we just drew, this one has been one of my favourite things to do because it’s so calming it gives me a little bit of quiet time. Then we laugh about how terrible I am at drawing and it doesn’t take a lot of time.

Here in Denmark the lockdown was not as long or restrictive as it was in the UK and we didn’t have a limit on going outside, I was really grateful for this because we went on really long walks therefore my daughter didn’t really miss electronics. 

Now that things are slowly changing again, I am grateful for the time we had together. The lockdown reminded me that I take my family’s company for granted, perhaps our busy life’s and commitments get in the way.

We decided to incorporated a few things to our weekly routine to make sure we continue to enjoy each others company, we kept drawing and cooking together at weekends.

Until next time, stay kind, stay safe,

Julie x

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