In normal times, children are mostly occupied with their social world outside of family whether it be their school or tuition classes or any other extra-curricular class. And when at home, they are busy finishing up assignments and coping up with their syllabus. But now with the covid-19 lockdown, it’s an opportunity for kids to grow beyond their syllabus as they get to spend more time with their parents. Here are some activities that parents can have with the children:
Art and craft sessions: Children should be involved in a variety of art and craft sessions. This will keep them engaged for hours and encourage creativity in them. These sessions would take some concentration and children will look to make the best possible creations.
Frame a schedule: Since schools are closed, it’s important to reinforce what’s done at school, so make a daily schedule for kids and ensure they spend some time reinforcing what had been done at school. Give them worksheet or assignments to do.
Encourage creativity: Give children CDs, woollen threads, coloured papers, match sticks, glues, balloons, ice-cream sticks, etc and encourage them to make creative things out of them.
Reading: While your kids are safe at home, get them into the habit of reading a book of their choice and language. Studies have shown reading is one of the main strategies for vocabulary acquisition and improved communication skills. Digital learning too can be part of the exercise.
Cooking: Children can be taught to bake cakes, make vegetable sandwiches, pasta, salads, fresh lime or popular chaats with the help from parents. Children would be thrilled and joyous at having prepared their own food.
Playing with kids: For relatively younger kids, playing with toys is a major engaging activity. Board games, Uno cards, building blocks, playsets, and puzzles are just a few of the good activities that can keep kids engaged for hours. Have a weekend special like housie. All these are unusual activities that keep the mind active.
Story narration: Younger kids are natural at absorbing stories with turns and twists. They use their toy collection or animal figure toys to create their own stories and you can create elaborate fantasies with stuffed animals or action figures.
E-newspapers: Children can make their own e-newspapers and mail it to their parents. They can have stories that excite and interest them and ones they can engage with themselves and their parents.
Yoga exercise: It is very productive and healthy to do yoga exercise as it keeps both body and mind fit. Yoga is known to be a great reliever of stress and anxiety and will play a great role in keeping children balanced and positive. There are online teachers of yoga and therefore you can learn and practice yoga without having to go out of your home.
Gardening: Planning a garden, planting seeds and watching them grow give kids a sense of purpose and responsibility. Children will have improved moods, better learning experiences and decreased anxiety when involved in these activities.
Keeping children engaged during a crisis is perhaps the most important activity in the family currently. While children are creative, parents too should unearth their own creativity to match the capabilities of their children. Remember that children will react to both what you do and how you do it. They pick a lot from what they see around themselves and may also imitate activities that parents are involved in. Adult behavior is a key element of keeping children engaged and one has to be sure not to give rise to any negativity especially in a time like COVID-19. The effort always has to be towards building a positive and re-assuring ambiance.
Niru Agarwal, Trustee, Greenwood High International School
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