Essential Tips for Lockdown 2021

Well here we are again in Lockdown2.0 for most of New Zealand, excluding Auckland, who's had more practice than the rest of us. 

Shock! Confusion! Disbelief! An unsettled feeling for the first two days as my brain and body adjusted to having EVERYTHING removed from the planner and timetable. Then the questions started flooding my thoughts and I found myself in cycles of repetition.

  • Can we still sell our house in Level 4?
  • Should we still put in an offer on that new build?
  • When will they start building it again?
  • When will I see my students next? And my family? And my friends?
  • Will we still move as planned to Queenstown in October? 

Then a kind of acceptance arrives on Day 3. We're in Level 4, just roll with it. I can't change Level 4 but I can change how I respond to it. Enjoy the slower pace of life. 

The kids are stoked, just like last time! They love being at home, playing, biking, crafting, digging, in amongst the laughing, arguing and crying!

Then I bring my focus onto what mammals need. It actually doesn't matter whether it's 2018, 2019 , 2020 or 2021! We are mammals and we have the same needs now as we did in the golden years before lockdown was a thing.

There are very specific things things that mammals NEED and a number of things that ENHANCE they way we think and feel. Focus on doing all or most of the essentials everyday, and use the enhancers to lift the mood, perspective and emotions of you and your family. 


Let's start with the essentials:

1. Nutritious food and sleep; Everyone does this differently so I won't delve into this too much. The main thing that works for all types of healthy eating is to focus on whole foods without the crappy additives or much sugar and salt. Get smart about giving them a plate of veggies BEFORE dinner, when they say they are SO STARVING at 4:30 or 5pm. 

Kids need about 10 hours of sleep everyday. Babies and teenagers need more, some kids manage well with 9. Sleep is where the body gets to do the magic stuff of rest and repair, which includes keeping our immune systems in working order.

2. Connection with others; is about feeling safe and developing healthy relationships. Connection makes us feel safe, protected and loved. Please talk to your kids more than you scroll social media, while you're home with them. The amount of time you 'notice' them and make eye contact with them, shapes their self esteem and sense of self worth. Make sure your kids KNOW that you think they're flipping awesome and they will BE flipping awesome.

  • Play games with them
  • Build lego with them
  • Read to them and hear them read
  • Write them a lovely letter
  • Make them a certificate
  • Laugh, joke around and have fun with them
  • Tell them you love them and they're safe

3. Movement and Exercise is vital for a healthy body and a healthy mind. Thread short bursts of exercise in between home learning tasks and aim to get out and about in your neighbourhood everyday for a longer walk or bike ride and some time away from your home/property. 

4. Spend time in Nature! If you live in an apartment, watch the clouds or the sky for 10 minutes, observe and talk about the changes you see each day. If you have a garden or a deck, spend lots of time there, especially when the sun is shining for a Vitamin D boost. Do some gardening with your children, show them how to hang out the washing, just potter around your section, being barefoot on grass is a grounding experience.


Then we have the enhancers:

5. Music. Have dance parties to get energised in the morning, or as motivation to get the kids tiding their clothes/toys/art supplies. Play calming music at night to help them wind down before sleep, if needed. Life's a musical so sing and use rhythm and music as much as you can, it has a huge impact on the way people feel.

6. Mindfulness. Stop and be completely STILL AND IN THE PRESENT when you notice you're upset or overwhelmed, or when you feel like a peaceful moment. Smell a flower, watch a line of ants march, sit outside in the sunshine and notice its warmth on your skin. If you model this, your small children might sit next to you and mimic you. With older children, explain that stopping and slowing down your thoughts help us to feel calm and grounded and to enjoy the moment happening right now.

7. Creativity. This is so important, especially in the current climate where there is a lot out of our control including lots of rules that we're required to follow. Whether you are happy to follow them or not, these new rules are definitely a a creativity-killer! Make sure your kids (and you) still get to make plenty of choices and look for ways to develop creativity.

  • Draw a machine that could tidy your room.
  • Make a creation out of cereal and tea boxes.
  • Plan an event for when we're back in Level 2, 1 or 0. 
  • Garden, paint, draw and develop a new idea or creation

If you want some help developing these essentials and enhancers wit your family, you'll love the book that incorporates all these things! My Amazing Brain is a brain-based activity book, designed to inspire and entertain your kids while spending quality time with you!

We have a fabulous deal on where you can get the paperback for just $24.99 so order your copy today. It will keep your kids learning and you sane in lockdown!


Victoria Jenkins from Brain Essentials NZ is a parent and primary school teacher who creates brain based resources for kids and their parents!

View www.brainessentials for ways to help kids thrive and shine!