21. Keeping the Kids engaged in the COVID19 Quarantine We are all ensconced within the safety of our homes during this COVID19 quarantine period. As adults we find ourselves engaged with various chores around the home or at least work out a daily routine for ourselves. But the kids bouncing with pent up energy and idle minds are a whole other story. There is no love lost between the parents and the children, but the sudden restrictions can be difficult to impose on kids, especially younger ones. The older the child, the more likely they are to conform to the situation. But parents with toddlers and young children are struggling to keep them occupied when they themselves are burdened with household chores and work from home assignments. Here’s how to deal with children without tightening the leash too much and keep them occupied in productive activities through the day.
Children can surprise you when it comes to communication. They are most likely to listen and obey when treated like adults without babying them. Sit them down and explain the situation in simple terms, than commanding them to obey you blindly. This can develop into an open ended conversation which will help your children to communicate with you easily. Encourage them to ask doubts and clarify it as best as you can. Reassure them that this situation will soon pass and you will be safe through it all. Help them to read up and look up presentations that can explain what is going on better. Visualisations can work better than plain words. Instead of commanding them to wash their hands, explain calmly why they need to do it. Kids are more likely to obey when they are given all the facebookcts and can decide for themselves that it is important to follow them.
We recommend creating a daily routine with sufficient gaps for idling. Keep the timetable realistic and tis will ensure they stick to it. You can’t expect a young child to spend two hours on his math books every single day. Space out the learning hours of the day instead of dumping it all in one solid session. The average attention span of children to focus with seriousness is about half an hour. Throw in a variety of activities and learning subjects to keep them motivated. Learning hours need not necessarily be only academic learning. They can be encouraged to pick up and learn a hobby or skill. If any adult in the house is well versed at a skill, it is the perfect opportunity to teach it to the children.
Sit and discuss with the children about their goals and ambitions. It can be both personal and academic or professional. Create big collages that can be propped up in prominent places. This will constantly remind them of what they need to direct their efforts towards. Tell them to feel free to keep adding on to the board whenever they come across anything that interests them. Create your own vision boards and have them voice their opinions on it. Guide them on what can be done to achieve what they want. Point out resources to them that will help and nurture them. Do not put own any interest or goal of theirs as lesser than expected. In this ever shifting world you never know, but the most unlikely of interests may even turn out to be a career path for them.
Now that they are home all the time, there is no other circle around them, but their family. You are now their entire support system and yes, kids expect validation for everything they do or say. They can test your patience but this is a good exercise to build a positive image about you to them. Use positive reinforcement methods like appreciation for even simple things that they get done. If they have put their toys away, make sure you acknowledge they have done it and spare a word or two of praise. Write down positive words about overcoming their insecurities and read them out aloud with them everyday for few minutes. This is a character building act, that will give them confidence and boost their social skills, when we come out of the quarantine.
Make a list of books that are age appropriate and challenge them to complete the list within the quarantine. Some children may not be particularly fond of books, but now that they do not know what else to do, there is a good chance that they may take up reading at least out of sheer boredom. Don’t leave this hanging. Tell them how much you loved the book as a child, what you may have learnt from it and encourage them to voice their opinions. Help them out with vocabulary. If they are of a suitable age, you can also make them write down their reviews on the book.
The government has decreed that the maids and help be given paid leave during the quarantine. Yes there are organisations about child labour, but you simply do not want your child growing up with no clue how to take care of themselves. Too much coddling makes their personalities weak. Give them easy daily tasks and chores around the house. Do not differentiate in gender here. Both boys and girls need to learn their way about a house. If they are old enough to handle it, teach them the basics of cooking. Ask them to clean and tidy up their rooms and spaces. Teach them to pick up after themselves. This will reduce the burden of the housework on you and prepare them for any situation in the future. It’s a Win-Win situation for all.
We simply cannot stress the importance of an active lifestyle enough. This applies to both adults and kids. Although they cannot go out, make sure your kids get plenty of exercise. Simple work our routines or if you have a terrace, ask them run and play around in it. Join them in these physical activities whenever possible. The Child’s physical development is as important as their mental development. They don’t have to excel at sports or win medals but a wholesome active regime will keep them fit and healthy throughout their life. Activities that they are practised to as a child are much easier to follow even as adults, just like how every child is partial to the food from their own home than suddenly having to change their lifestyle in the future. Be firm but kind and make sure you are always approachable to them. They will barrage you with questions and queries, but keeping their future in mind, indulge in their activities. If you are tied up with work, simply assign a new time when they can talk to you and clarify things. Ensure you stick to your promises with regard to the time you spend with them. Although you have a time table prepared for them to follow, allow ample amount of breathing time for kids, to be just kids. This time spent at home is a wonderful opportunity to connect and built dependable relationships with your children. Make use of our tips and if you have more tips or experiences to share, connect with us and our other readers in the comment section.