What Parents Say: How to Entertain Kids Indoors

Published on: May 12, 2021

If you’re stuck at home, Sanam and Chyi share our survey results and the best tips to manage bored kids.

By Sanam Raisa Rahman and Chyi Lee

“Mom! I’m bored! There’s nothing to do!”

“When will it stop raining? I want to go to the park!”

“Can I watch some TV, please?”

 Sound familiar? If not, you haven’t yet faced the struggles of entertaining children stuck indoors. If you have, and if you have ever wondered what other parents do in the same situation, or if you would simply like to be prepared for the day you may be in the same boat, please read on. This article might be just what you need to help you enjoy your morning coffee or a due catch-up on the phone with your friend while the kids are busy doing something productive. 

 Given the demands today’s fast-paced world places on our personal and professional lives, most parents would agree that schools, parks, and other similar facilities and/or institutions play important roles in shaping and managing the lives of our children and their interests. But what happens when these places are no longer options?

 At BAMBI, we were keen to hear from our readers about the days they are unable to take their children outdoors for entertainment due to bad weather, school holidays, and/or COVID-19 lockdowns, and what they do to keep their children happy, focused, and engaged at home during this time. We asked parents what type of indoor activities their kids enjoyed the most, what format of play; independent or group activities their children preferred, and what the main challenges were in doing so. Mums and dads were also invited to share any tips or advice they had with fellow parents. Here’s what we found out.

Most parents reported that their children enjoyed creative activities such as drawing and painting, building with blocks, pretend/ role play, etc., and physical activities such as yoga, dancing, sports, etc. the most. 79% said that their children preferred participating in group activities, while 21% reported that their children were more comfortable playing independently. As for the challenges faced, these were the top five issues that emerged:

  •     Quick loss of interest 
  •     Instant gratification from electronic devices
  •     Space and resource limitations
  •     Lack of new and interesting activity ideas
  •     Competing priorities for parents and/or caregivers accompanying children vs. having to work          from home or manage other tasks 

However, parents are experts at finding solutions, and BAMBI families are certainly no exception! Recognizing that children often lose interest or get bored quickly because they need a little direction or attention from parents, one mum recommended setting aside some time for family activities so that children do not feel that they are always left to their own devices. A few other mums suggested engaging children in activities that parents are also involved with, moving to a different activity every 30 minutes, and/or rotating toys regularly. It was also claimed that parents should just let children be bored sometimes as creative ideas are often triggered when kids are left to play in a non-structured format. Mixing up structured play with independent exploring was thought to be helpful in ensuring maximum engagement from children.

 Parents noted however that listening to children’s needs and never forcing them to participate in activities they are not willing to do is one of the most important things. Instead, it’s better to give them options to choose from, for example, “would you like to solve a puzzle or paint a picture?” rather than “it’s time to solve a puzzle” or “let’s paint.” Kids can be easier to please when they feel involved in decision-making. Creating consistent routines and planning activities in advance can also help in managing children’s expectations and stress levels when there are other competing priorities for parents.

 Understandably the trickiest challenge is space and resource limitations. It is sometimes difficult to ensure adequate space for children to occupy when engaged in play, especially when there is more than one child at home. At times like this children should be encouraged to share and take turns, or they can be carefully diverted to activities that require working in tandem. 

Overall, it seems like BAMBI parents have a pretty good grasp of how to keep things under control when it comes to entertaining kids indoors. Drawing from personal experience as well, whenever my five-year-old starts complaining that there is nothing to do, I tell her, “why don’t you draw a picture of what you’d like to do, and then we can talk about it. Let’s see if it’s doable.” It doesn’t always work, but it’s always worth a try. And when I draw a blank for new ideas, I have found numerous websites such as Pinterest, Mothercould, and Twinkl to be a godsend!  

So with all of these ideas and tips in hand, we hope you feel more confident about spending time indoors with your children. We’d love to get feedback from you about our survey, whether the ideas mentioned here have worked for you, or if you have any other tried and tested methods of entertaining your kids. Please use the QR code on this page to share your thoughts and stories with us and keep your eyes peeled on the BAMBI Facebook page as we will have more surveys coming up and would love for you to take part. To those of you who participated in this survey, a very big thank you, and for the entire BAMBI community, hope you have a happy month ahead! 

Photo from Canva

About the Authors

Sanam is from Bangladesh and has been living in Bangkok with her husband and two little girls since 2012. Previously a UN employee, she is currently on a career break to raise her kids who are 5 and 2 years old. Having always been passionate about writing, she joined the BAMBI News team to do something she enjoys from home at her own pace while also being able to experience all the precious moments that motherhood has to offer. 

Chyi enjoys learning about others’ stories and writing about them; she joined the BAMBI News team to explore editing and writing topics that are new to her: parenting and family. After spending over 6 years in Bangkok, her family of three is currently embarking on a new journey in Kuala Lumpur.

The views expressed in the articles in this magazine are not necessarily those of BAMBI committee members and we assume no responsibility for them or their effects.

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