The world is in a state of panic and has gone towards a complete shutdown due to the outbreak of COVID-19. As it’s advised that one should self-quarantine to protect ourselves & others from this situation; although remaining inside is a good thought (though only for a while) parents are going through a chaotic situation, keeping their children engaged at home.
Schools, Summer Camps, Malls, Clubhouses, Parks being closed to discourage people from congregating…THIS literally leaves no place for kids now to go & play! My husband who is presently working from home said, “Kids when home just hang on to you like a sticker!”, this gave me a good laugh and made me think about the situation going on in each & every home with kids around!
Well, here are a few tips/activities, to help make yours & children’s quarantine time interesting, active and engaging: –
- Making a Schedule. As grown-ups we work best when we set our schedules for the next day, the same way kids need to have a schedule fixed-up to be more organized as they are during their school days. So, it’s best to prepare this schedule along with the kiddos. Sit, ask & discuss what “new” they would like to do and utilize this time best to make it a memorable break. You can also create a star board where each of the discussed task is pinned up on the board and as & when the kid completes the task, he/she will earn a star (reward). Here the kids can themselves give a star with either a chalk/ marker pens or if smaller kids they can use stickers.
- Balancing your Roles. Parents are child’s “first” teachers…it’s a good opportunity to spend time with them & play a role of an educator. Parents are going to be an employee, a parent, a cook and a teacher every day till the situation calms down. So, parents as this is a challenging phase for all of us now to keep them independently occupied, let’s give this time a lil ease and give ourselves a break too. Incase you are working from work, ensure you make one designated place as your cubicle and wear your office/ formal clothing, this will help your child take advise seriously and accompany you doing their tasks seriously.
- Time to get fit together. Just breathe, Exercise, meditate, chant…. This gives parents & children an opportunity to interact and stay calm. As chanting improves focus and concentration and also has powerful effects on brain development, children can chant Gayatri Mantra & Om every morning.
- Give them Responsibility. No doubt when kids are home the house is in a total mess. How much ever one tries to clean and keep things in its right place, the next moment the toys are scattered. Let kids take up “Role-Play” each day , like of a cleaner (clean their cupboards/ arrange their toy sections); a dishwasher (wash their own used plates, spoons, dishes) or a washer (kids enjoy washing clothes- give them their napkins/ towels to wash during their bathing time), this might ensure you get some extra time out for yourself.
- Interact (Communicate). Discuss current events and when you do so always begin by listening to them first by asking them what they know about that subject. Let them Video call/ do FaceTime with their grandparents/relatives as many are forced to stay back home from visiting native place during vacation time.
6. Play Indoors, Enhance creativity. Let kids solve puzzles, Lego, blocks, ask quizzes, play one of my favorite childhood game-Name, Place, Animal & Thing, board games, video games and so on…Kids can be kept immersed in any creative art forms that involves fine motor skills, imagination where kids sit and perform the art patiently. For younger children, those less than 3 years old- independent play is tough as they need continuous social interaction. Though parents will be tempted to hand over a phone or iPad but this can be replaced by letting them play with Play-Doh, art supplies, audio-books or parents can also make their own video recording before hand that reads aloud their favorite stories.
7. Read, Read & Read.
“Books”-Get your child to read more books to keep their brain active! You can stack them at places it can be easily picked or you could read for them as a bedtime story.
One could keep themselves occupied by reading Story books to take them into lands of fantasy; Comics, Touch & Feel books; Mythological stories; Books based on movies; Science fiction etc. Reading books that teaches kid a good morale should be preferred first. For instance, kids can read books on ‘Kindness’ that will teach kids to be a kind & compassionate person from a very early age. Other stories that talk about friendship; Sharing; Confidence; Caring etc. can be included.
A list of few books’ kids can prefer to read-
– The Gita for Children by Roopa Pai
-Pete the Cat by Eric Liwin; James Dean & Kimberly Dean
– Olivia The Pig by Ian Falconer
-Splat the Cat by Rob Scotton
“Newspaper“- Every morning, reading the newspaper is a good practice for kids at an early age, where kids read and are asked to list down at least 5-8 news items and also read out aloud to family members.
8. Build Writing Skills.
Photo-Albums: Let kids, check out their old albums/ photographs stored on the laptop/hard drive. Print them in the form of soft copy. Kids can create their own albums – stick pictures in a scrapbook, write down a few lines about the photograph (when was it taken, place, year, important moment & so on). And lastly, decorate the album with stickers and markers. In this way, kids can have an album filled with all significant milestone right from their birth till their current times. This is an amazing thing to do & believe me the album will be cherished later for a long time.
Practicing Letter Writing (formal & informal letters): Letter Writing which our parents followed to keep in touch with their dear ones and that has faded now due to technology like Phone & Emails, should be re-introduced to keep up the traditional format alive. Parents can encourage kids to attempt and frame their own thoughts for parents, grandparents, teachers, friends and write down a nice letter expressing themselves. Kids can even write a ‘thank you’ note to the ones who went out their way to help them.
Write a Poetry: Kids can be encouraged to craft their own poetry on the topic that interests them. Mother’s Day is arriving soon; kids can try out their hands on drafting a sweet poem on their mothers.
Handwriting: It’s the best time for kids to improve their handwriting or practice different writing styles. Kids can learn calligraphy – YouTube can assist them best.
9. Screen time for education. Kids home and they aren’t watching the screen is an unimaginable thing. If your kids are watching the screen for sometime then utilize this time to make them watch online educational materials & learn something new. Parents can accompany kids to watch documentaries or even listen to podcasts.
Few Educational shows, kids can watch on YouTube/Netflix:
- Tiger: Spy in the Jungle
- Polar Bear: Spy on Ice
- 72 Cutest Animals
- Penguins: Spy in the Huddle
- Baby Animals in the Wild
- Frozen Planet
- Mission Blue
- Planet Earth: As You’ve Never Seen It
- Earth’s Natural Wonders
- Edge of the Universe
- In Search for Life in Space
- Horizon: Supermassive Black Holes
- Alien Contact: Outer Space
- Dino Hunt
- Horizon Dinosaurs: The Hunt for Life
- Inside Einstein’s Mind
- Minimalism: A Documentary about the Important Things
- The Beginning of Life: The Series
- Story of Maths