Kavita Sahay Kerawalla, Vice Chairperson, VIBGYOR Group of Schools
COVID-19 has been by far the biggest challenge humankind has faced in the last 50 years if not more. It has challenged the world medically and economically and has posed a major shift not only in our lifestyle but also that of our children. The biggest transition that children have experienced is the shift from physical education to digital education. Every change brings new opportunities as well as some challenges. As parents, we need to leverage the opportunities, but we should also be aware of the challenges and work towards minimising their impact.
Here, we suggest five ways in which you can support your children to adjust and adapt to the new normal.
Provide and support remote formal education for pre-primary kids
Many parents have resorted to home schooling or no schooling for children of the pre-primary age. This could well prove to be a detrimental decision. One needs to understand that by doing this, not only are they depriving children of needful formal schooling at the right age but also preventing them from meaningful social interaction with their peers.
Schooling, even if it is online, provides a platform for little children to socialise apart from providing them the opportunity to imbibe foundational concepts. Most good schools have synced their online pedagogy with virtual tools which help them to assist children to learn experientially as well as it would be in the physical mode. Postponing a child’s admission at the pre-primary level may risk the child’s learning both in terms of conceptual skills as well as social skills. Parents should encourage children to start and continue formal education to help prepare them for their future education beyond the pandemic.
Decide how much screen time is reasonable for your children
With lessons moving online, and children unable to go outside and play with other children, they are stuck at home watching videos or playing virtual games. This may lead to a considerable increase in screen time. Excessive screen time can lead to sleep problems, behavioural issues, and health issues.
It is more important now that parents encourage children to partake in activities such as art, origami, puzzles, and pretend play, which can let their creative juices flow and therefore keep them away from the screen.
Encourage physical activity even at home
Being stuck inside our homes reduces physical activities among adults as well as children. Thus, it becomes imperative for parents to encourage children to consider and include physical exercises as an essential part of our current housebound lifestyle. It can be made possible by starting our mornings with some mediation and yoga or stretching exercises. Parents would do well to encourage children to collaborate in doing home chores – it is a good way to engage them and promotes a sense of responsibility among them. Simple activities like making their bed, folding clothes together, setting up the dining table, and more, are interesting ways to engage them physically.
Indulge in different activities together
Use this time spent at home to bond with your children and to create memories together that you will enjoy looking back on.
Play board games with them, host treasure hunts, arrange indoor picnics, sing songs, tell stories, and dance with your kids. You can also set up short video calls with extended family and friends, so children do not miss their company. Regular conversations with peers and extended family help children to develop social skills.
Connect with nature
Time spent indoors can be used to introduce children to balcony gardens and birds. Through gardening activities, you can help build children’s interest in nature. Involving them in such engrossing activities instils a sense of appreciation and love for nature in them.
Growing small plants such as fenugreek, herbs, mint, and basil in kitchen gardens is also an ideal way to introduce children to healthy eating. Growing succulents and flowers, making small planters out of baskets, and paint pots are some ways to keep children occupied constructively.
Also read: Viva Vibgyor diva: Kavita Kerawalla