How do you actually fill your 8 yr old's day?

(29 Posts)
Knitwit99 Wed 13-Jan-21 16:11:09

If you're at home with an 8 yr old and you're trying to work, what do they actually do with their time all day?

I'm not interested in how hard they are working academically or anything like that, just what do they actually do?

We try to start some work at 9am, aim for 15-20 minutes of a maths workbook, he usually does that on his own but sitting at the table with me talking quite a lot.
Then at 9.30 there's a call with the class teacher so that occupies him for 15 minutes.
Then he does a bit of reading for maybe half an hour.

Then there's a lot of down-time while I try to work and he just hangs around the house not really doing anything. Sometimes he watches tv, sometimes he tries to play quietly on xbox so I won't notice.

Then I realise he's totally wasting his time so I stop working and try to make him do some other sort of worksheet or something from school.
Then it's nearly lunchtime. And then I realise there's still a whole afternoon to fill.

We go out for a walk when I can fit it in but as often as not I can't fit it in and I just have to keep working. Sometimes he'll have 15 minutes in the garden but it's so cold right now and our garden is so damp and miserable.

He's always been the sort of kid who likes to be around people, he loves a chat, so he's hopeless at getting stuck into some sort of activity that might occupy him for an hour to let me get a good stretch of work done. If I could devote my entire day to him we'd learn loads in really fun and interactive ways. But I can't.

What do your 8 yr olds do all day?

OP’s posts: |
BogRollBOGOF Wed 13-Jan-21 16:13:41

Home learning battles.
Screen time.

It was easier in the summer when there was more space to play in boxes in the conservatory, the garden was accessible and going out for walks/ scooting/ football etc actually pleasurable rather than an uncomfortable chore.

Cherryup Wed 13-Jan-21 16:21:15

My ds is a little older, his school work does tend to take up most of the day 9-2, with a break and lunch break.

For time fillers I get him to read, do various fitness things on YouTube (karate, dance, indoor football skills, kids yoga etc), watch cbbc, do bbc bite size, timetable rockstars, FaceTime a friend and we set topic questions to get them going and chatting, bake and yes computer games.

It's really hard and already feeling like Groundhog Day. My DS talks or sings constantly 😂, it's so hard for me to concentrate!

LouNatics Wed 13-Jan-21 16:25:31

6.30am watch cartoons and eat too much cereal
7.30am take way too long to get dressed, wash and brush teeth
8.45am ask for more breakfast
8.50am -10.30 online maths lesson, work through maths book
10.30 break, goes on mincraft usually
11-12 online English lesson, works on English tasks
12 lunch, maybe a quick scoot in the garden
1pm online topics lesson (science, history, geography)
2pm break, either back on Minecraft or Joe wicks PE lesson
2.30pm guided or independent reading
3pm online assembly
3.30pm either a walk or a run or a scoot before it gets dark.
4.30pm onward - whatever they want. Usually some combination of tv, reading, slime, board games, cooking, minecraft, Lego, bath, dinner until bed at 8.

ginsparkles Wed 13-Jan-21 16:28:42

I'm not WFH but when not homeschool mine is on Roblox and chatting to her friends. We are offsetting the extra screen time by reducing the amount she's on it at the weekend, walks and board games instead.

BlingLoving Wed 13-Jan-21 16:29:32

We find that when we need to keep him occupied so that we can actually get stuff done, some screen time is actually a better option. Either as an incentive or a distraction - eg do these 5 school tasks and you can have PS or, "go play on the PS while I do this work thing and then we'll do some maths together". Or whatever.

School work wise, (he's actually at school at the moment but when we were homeschooling). Some tuff we have to be very involved in, so safe that for when I can. Then get him to do things like write a story (at best, 20 minutes), an english worksheet etc. Or some reading.

He quite likes drawing and likes drawing by following tutorials so we can sometimes get him set up with that and he'll do 30 minutes or even more. If he was at home now, I'd be actively looking for more than just the random stuff he was doing before, different things etc.

DS is also good about a workout - we can put a Joe Wickes on and he'll do it by himself for 30 minutes which is helpful.

But basically, for any school work that requires parental involvement, it's tricky because it needs to be balanced between work and DD etc.

TooTweeForMe Wed 13-Jan-21 16:32:58

Mine is 7- aside from the home learning which takes up maybe 2.5 hours tops, he plays xbox and talks to his friends that way, he watches netflix, bugs me to play fighting games, winds up his sister, bounces on the trampoline, plays with the dog, does Just Dance and eats constant snacks.


LickEmbysmiling Wed 13-Jan-21 16:33:44

Loads of roblox, Minecraft, comp games and the odd film.
Unfortunately dd never got into reading which is a shame and has struggled with with literacy.
School work is loaded into goole classes, so we can do it as and when.
Dd struggles told work more than 30 mins at a time so I tend to get her to do one thing in my break, Minecraft, games a few hours later another oak academy video etc.

It's not ideal but it's short term and she's socialising on line with school pals which is crucial.
I'm certainly not telling her off for being on line at all, I'm extremely grateful that we have this tech.

I can also use it to get leverage and squeeze out more work from her.

Knitwit99 Wed 13-Jan-21 16:34:38

He quite likes drawing and likes drawing by following tutorials so we can sometimes get him set up with that and he'll do 30 minutes or even more

That's what I need to find, things along those lines. But it's hard. I'm sure there's a "thing" out there he'll love to do and get completely absorbed in, I just haven't found it yet.

OP’s posts: |
AliceMcK Wed 13-Jan-21 16:43:24

Educational tv programme, dosnt have to be long, tell him to watch it then write some sentences about it, talk about what he liked and what he didn’t. If he needs to watch it again tell him he can. Tell after that he needs to draw or create something related to the programme. I like the Maddie do you know programmes, or dinosaurs are a firm favourite in our house. You could always add to this later in the day by asking him to list the different types of words he used, verbs etc...

TTRS are also popular, my DDs (6 & 8) can spend an hour easy just doing them.

I’ve also started getting my 8 year old to make lunch, just sandwiches but she likes doing it and keeps her busy.

TierFourTears Wed 13-Jan-21 16:56:05

Our youngest is 9.
DH is wft from home, and is only disturabable the days I'm required in work (currently once a week, might go up to 2).
He plays on his tablet between breakfast and 9.15 while I do 90 mins work.
Then he does the assigned English, maths and one other topic with me sitting next to him, doing whatever I can on paper. No meetings, it's oak academy videos and tasks sent from school. Hopefully finished by 12, so I can check my emails before cooking lunch (his older brother has fixed lunch 12.30-1). DS2 and I are sharing a laptop.
Afternoons he has to entertain himself - NO SCREENS as that just winds the 11 year old up as its unfair! He plays with the cat, reads a book, has messed about with some SmartGame puzzles, excavated some gems in a kit - and cleaned up after himself, put together a spider kit. If his brother has PE, he does that with him.
After 3.05, it's a free for all on screens for both kids.
I dont achieve a full working day, but I do achieve everything that's been asked of me (most of my job requires a)me to be in school and b)the kids to be in school)

I've been searching Amazon for kits that he will enjoy, but can do unsupervised. Drawing and colouring isnt popular. Large (1000) dot to dots have been a surprise hit.

Charles11 Wed 13-Jan-21 16:57:11

My dd is 8 and gets quite a lot of school work. It takes her about 3 hrs to do it.
She likes to code so spends an hr a day doing that. It’s not ideal as it’s more screen time but she enjoys it.
I arrange for her to chat to friends on zoom.
She’ll follow a simple recipe if I get everything out for her and bake some cupcakes or biscuits.
She does Maths Factor
Loves arts and crafts and follows ideas in an Usborne art book she has or follows YouTube tutorials.
I bought an origami book last year and she gets that out sometimes.
A rubix cube is a big hit. She’s been following a YouTube tutorial on how to solve it.
Lots of TV.

goteam Wed 13-Jan-21 17:03:43

He sounds like a lovely chatty kid OP. Try the Oak academy lessons. They are presented by teachers with linked tasks so he could watch the videos on eg compound sentences then write a few of his own. Also, the BBC are doing classes now.

If they aren't doing zoom classes hopefully the school have sent a few links and the curriculum map. It is hard to fill the whole day though. At school kids actually spend a lot of time milling around and in playtime etc.

Get him to read a book over a few days then write a short review then use that to check spellings and write the words for an end of week test perhaps. That could be a weekly thing.

Art Ninja on CBBC. He could watch and pause to try the drawing himself. DD loves doing that.

Knitwit99 Wed 13-Jan-21 17:19:35

I've been searching Amazon for kits that he will enjoy, but can do unsupervised. Drawing and colouring isnt popular. Large (1000) dot to dots have been a surprise hit

Me too. I wondered about jigsaws with a reasonable number of pieces but he wants me to do them with him which defeats the purpose really. Lego he wants me to do with him. Maybe I could try some air drying clay or something, that would be good. He could model at the same table as me? Or I might try some dot to dots, that's a good idea. I'll look for a book.

At school kids actually spend a lot of time milling around and in playtime etc

I think that's right, when you consider the time it takes to get in the door, hang up your coat, do the register, get all your excitable chat out of the way etc etc. So I'm not bothered about the learning, just the actual filling of the time in a way that's not staring vacantly at the tv. But it looks like lots of us are having the same issues so it's good to know I'm not alone.

OP’s posts: |
unlimiteddilutingjuice Wed 13-Jan-21 17:20:11

We're in a pretty good routine I think:
7ish: Breakfast with me and DD. Bit of TV if he fancies it.
8ish to 9ish: I start work. He has to clear out of the living room and entertain himself.
No screens (not by's just that the tech is the living room where he isn't allowed)
Activities include: playing dolls with DD, Lego, making jam sandwiches, drawing, painting, "playing out" (were lucky to have safely enclosed square/back court area), offering to run errands to the corner shop, reading books.....anything that doesn't involve me. Sometimes he appears with some trivial complaint about DD. I tell him to go away.
12.30: I make lunch. He can play on my laptop or watch TV while I do it.
1pm Lunch
1.30pm to 4.30pm: School work. He has ADHD so this is a nightmare of constant nagging and redirection. We do it in tiny chunks to suit his ridiculous attention span and alternate with DDs work. He can watch TV with h adphobes while I do DDs bits.
4.30: TV while I make tea.
5.00: Tea time
5.00 to 7.30: Whatever he likes. Normally screens.
7.30: Bath, story and bed
8.00 to 10.00ish: Reading or playing Lego in his bedroom. He thinks I don't know about this. I do know. I just don't care.

Knitwit99 Wed 13-Jan-21 17:32:39

anything that doesn't involve me

This is where I fail. Yes he's lovely, yes it's great that he always wants to chat. But getting him to do anything that doesn't involve me (or screens) is hopeless.

OP’s posts: |
unlimiteddilutingjuice Wed 13-Jan-21 17:45:49

Mine used to have unlimited access to screens and I found it made him really grumpy by the end of the day.
Then he broke his tablet and it was honestly a blessing in disguise. He went through a bit of a tough transition phase were he'd tantrum and complain of boredom. B
ut then he sort of came through the other side and found things to do. He's sitting in a house full of toys so it should be possible!
It's a bit easier for him because he has his sister to play with....but their imagination does kick in if you leave them bored long enough.

yogamatted Wed 13-Jan-21 17:47:54

I would suggest a planned in advance timetable for each day with breaks and reward (Xbox? Tv?) at the end of the school day. Make the timings consistent each day because it is school, just not normal school and the reward more generous in terms of screen time than would normally be allowed.
Have a list of breakout activities that he can do by himself if he finishes a task earlier than expected (30 day Lego challenge, read, garden if you have one etc)
Then when you're planning the day include things like Sumdog or maths factor that he can just get on with. I guess there will be literacy equivalent of these. Many zoos have weekly Facebook live sessions so pop them into the schedule, on Monday my DD joined Simon Hetherington Art on FB live while I was working and loved it, it's on 10.30 each Monday and Thursday. Good luck!

sleepismysuperpower1 Wed 13-Jan-21 17:52:47

if you left a recipe and some ingredients out for him, could he make something like no bake cheesecake, or no bake cinnamon rolls? Depending on the recipe that could take 30-60 mins

bigblueboots Wed 13-Jan-21 17:53:30

@Knitwit99 Can you make independent activities an aim that you work up to?

Make it a game - set him up with Lego/paper and pens/playdough in one room, and set yourself up with a cup of tea in another room. The game is to create something together while you can't see it. So, he's tasked with drawing a monster. You start with, "I think the monster should have a green head" - he goes off to draw it, and adds something else. He comes back and tells you "I've drawn the green head and I've given it a red tail". You say, "I think it should have blue spikes on its back", so he goes off to add the spikes plus his own idea, and so on.

Lots of regular involvement from you to begin with, but builds up the idea that you can be interested in what he's doing even while not in the same space as him. It could then become a 10 minute conversation together about the ideas for a Lego model, followed by 15 minutes of him making it independently. That kind of thing?

unlimiteddilutingjuice Wed 13-Jan-21 18:31:28

My DH does this kind of thing bigblueboots
"make the best ever tower"
"make the best castle"
Surprsingly effective. They can't resist a challenge.

Blankiefan Wed 13-Jan-21 18:37:30

Audio books are a hit with my 7 year old. She'll often listen whilst doing lego and gets a bit lost in the time.

She has a amazon kids + membership with is £1.99 a month if you have Prime anyway. Lots of audible content.

Quornflakegirl Wed 13-Jan-21 18:39:20

I have two 8 year olds who are home 2 days when I attempt to wfh.

I do conferencing for 2 hours from 9-11 so they entertain themselves watching tv, playing or screen time.
We start home learning at 11 and do whatever their teacher has set. Mostly is bollocks and a time filling exercising. We have lunch between 12:30-1 then another 2 hours of school work. Dh gets home at 4 and takes them for a bike ride so I can fit in an hours work. Then I cook dinner and we eat at 6. I then get the privilege of working until 9 or 10pm to catch up.

Kolo Wed 13-Jan-21 18:57:20

I'd try leaving out some puzzles (you can find online crosswords/word searches on just about any topic they are interested in), and some colouring in sheets (again, find printable ones they are interested in - minecraft, frozen, pokemon whatever).

Also put out some dexterity/sensory stuff they can get absorbed in - Lego, hamma beads, loom bands, play doh. I love play doh; you can make your own batch in the morning and put out some kitchen utensils with it in a tray. Add other toys to it to expand the play - farm animals set for example.

pontresina Wed 13-Jan-21 19:35:12

I've taken to going on a walk from 8 to 9 (more or less). They're nice and hungry when we come back in and can make breakfast themselves without too much carnage.

I am stinkingly grateful that mine love drawing though. I could wallpaper the house in 'artwork' but at least they're quiet.

DS also enjoys working outdoors. Loads of layers and he'll sit quite happily at the table out in the garden confused

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