How to Keep Kids Engaged at Home During The Coronavirus Lock Down
Lock Down-Children Stuck at Home
The coronavirus outbreak and the subsequent lock-down, has led to schools being shut. Parents are struggling to keep their children engaged in productive ways and ensure that they do not get bored and restless. On the positive side, we can say that this is a good time for the parents to bond with their children which would otherwise have been difficult with their hectic work schedules. Parents need to ensure that their children are continuously engaged in creative activities when they are stuck at home due to the lock-down. And with small children, it is even more difficult. Keeping an energetic child engaged and out of harm’s way can be quite challenging for a parent. They need constant monitoring as these little wonders are full of inquisitiveness and love exploring anything and everything they see. It is a great time to teach them interesting activities that will keep them occupied and entertained at home. So with a little planning and forethought, parents can deal with the situation.
So here are some tips to keep the children engaged at home:
Plan the Activities for the Week with your Child
Involve the child in the weekly planning, it will make the child feel important and may even come up with creative ideas of his or her liking to do each day. Make sure it has a mix of creative, learning and fun activities. During the course of the day as each task gets completed as per the list, ask the child to tick the completed box. Having a well-balanced, daily schedule will keep them steady and prevent behavioral problems later. It will motivate them to achieve other goals too. Knowing what to do next makes the children feel secure and also can lead to forming good habits. It will help them to stay organized and disciplined as they grow and make them independent and successful in adult life.
Baking and Cooking can be Fun
Children love cookies and cakes. So involving the children in Baking activities can be interesting and fun for the child. Give them small tasks like mixing the flour, beating eggs, mixing sugar and see how they will enjoy the activity. It can keep them busy for some time. Allow them to experiment. Turn the kitchen into a lab and allow your child to explore the intricacies of cooking. When the children participate in the cooking they are more likely to enjoy the food that they have helped prepare. Teaching them simple cooking steps from an early age has great advantages. They become self-sufficient and will learn to appreciate the value of food as they witness the effort that goes into getting a meal ready for the entire family. As they become comfortable doing the small tasks like stirring vegetables, mixing flour, arranging the table, slowly increase the responsibilities as they grow older. You can plan new menus with the children. Signing up for online baking and cooking classes with the children is a great way of bonding.
Gardening Together is Refreshing
Gardening can be a fun learning activity for children. Nurturing plants can make them bond with nature and at the same time learn the importance of plants and trees and the ecology. They will grow up to be nature nurturers. Gardening with your children can be so much fun. It is a rewarding experience and an opportunity to spend quality time with them, at the same time teaching them valuable skills. Children love to watch the seeds that they sow, sprout and grow into plants. They will be even more thrilled when the veggies start growing or flowers start blooming.
If you have a backyard you can start a small organic veggie garden. You can grow okra, zucchini, cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers, pumpkins and lemons. If you don’t have a backyard, you can convert your balcony or terrace into a small garden. You can grow herbs and tomatoes in pots which don’t need much space. Children love watering the plants and see them grow. You can also encourage them to talk to the plants. Studies have shown that plants grow well when spoken to. Spring is a very good time to start the gardening project with your kids. Teaching the kids the basics of gardening will help them appreciate the beauty of nature. Gardening activities are known to be relaxing both for the parents and kids.
Note: Please note that items like seeds, fish, an aquarium, other materials needed for gardening, art and crafts and cooking materials can be purchased online which is safer. It is not advisable to go out shopping at this time of the pandemic. If you do need to go to the stores to shop, safety guidelines with regard to social distancing, wearing a mask have to be strictly adhered to, for your safety and for the safety of the family. Children and the elderly are advised not to venture out as they are more susceptible to the virus infection due to their lower immunity.
Technology can be Helpful
Though the restriction of screen time to avoid screen addiction is important, technology can be very helpful in the growth of the child. At-home exercise programs, child-friendly aerobic workouts, and yoga can be accessed online. There are webinars to teach children how to set up an aquarium or fish tank. They can also learn about the different species of fish and how they can be taken care of at home. There is no harm if your kids use tablets for fun learning games or watching educational videos with parental supervision. They learn things faster and helps them become tech-savvy as they grow up.
In a world ruled by technology, familiarizing children with technology can make them smarter. Their imagination will improve when they watch animated videos and pretend to be their favorite animation characters. But it is important to limit the usage of technological devices to avoid screen addiction and there is the risk of them becoming couch potatoes. They need physical as well as a mental exercise for overall development. It is important that parents spend quality time with their children by indulging in interesting and challenging tasks to avoid screen addiction in them.
Board Games to Bond with the Children
Popular board games like Monopoly, Chess, Ludo or Scrabble can keep the child occupied and entertained. Board games can teach children important social skills such as communicating, sharing and interacting with people. They help in improving the concentration and creativity of the children. These games help develop social interaction, decision making, and critical thinking, along with the basics of finance. One never gets bored with board games. These games are an ideal way to spend time and bond with the kids. Then there are educational board games like balderdash, Scattergories, Upwords which help in word building, memory, logic, strategy, math, classification, learning new words, etc which can help the child learn useful things. Academic concepts can be taught to children through these games. For example, chess and clue enhance their critical thinking and math plus they are fun. Board games are good for children's’ mental growth. They make them more intelligent and self-sufficient.
Painting and Eco Friendly Crafts
Children can learn to make yarn dolls, paper roll butterflies, paper toys, also try their hand at canvas painting, glass painting, drawing, coloring, sculpting, collage making, etc. Apart from entertaining, art can be therapeutic for anxious children. Art helps children develop, mentally, socially and emotionally. They feel good when they create art and this boosts their self-confidence. Allow them to create their own stuff. It does not have to be some great artwork. Let them dabble in it. Just putting paint on paper gives them joy. Be supportive and encouraging but never critical.
Allow them to experiment with mixing colors, using the different combinations of colors to paint. Natural objects such as leaves, twigs, flowers, fruit and vegetable slices, stones that can easily be accessed from your garden can be used to make interesting patterns and designs on canvas. From attractive bookmarks to beautiful greeting with cards, kitty craft Popsicle sticks to puppets there are a whole lot of crafting ideas on the internet which can be checked out by the parents and start the craft using is Eco-friendly stuff and have fun with the children. There are many online classes for them, in which parents can enroll their children and bring out their creative talent.
Interactive Games with the Children
If you have a basement or a courtyard, you can get them to cycle or skate around. You can install a swing in the courtyard too. They will have a great time cycling, swinging and will give you some time to attend to your work. You can put on some dance music videos on TV or a computer and dance with them to the music. It will be a good physical exercise for both the parents and the children. Solving puzzles keep them mentally sharp and are an integral part of early learning for the children. Singing or playing a musical instrument together is a great way to spend time. Encourage them to make up their own lyrics to familiar tunes. It will add to their creativity.
Reading Stories Together
Invest in picture books and storybooks for children and inculcate the habit of reading at a tender age. Read out the stories and encourage them to read out aloud. It improves their vocabulary, language skills, spellings, pronunciation, grammar and, phonetics. Storytelling is known to improve the child’s imagination and social skills. Encourage the children to make up stories of their own and listen to their stories with enthusiasm. This enhances their imagination, improves vocabulary and increases their self-confidence. It will be useful in public speaking events as they grow up Telling bedtime stories to the children can be relaxing and calming to them and helps them sleep better.
Quality Time with their Grandparents
Grandparents love to spend quality time with their grandchildren. The children listen attentively to the interesting stories, anecdotes, and experiences from their life that the grandparents share with them. Grandparents are an important part of the children's growing up as they provide knowledge, stability, maturity, and unconditional love to their grandchildren. Children often love their grandparents more as they are not strict as their parents, given in easily to their demands and are ever willing to play and have fun with them. They have the time and resources to spend on them and easily bond with them. They patiently listen to all the grandchildren have to say and advise them when they need to. Apart from storytelling, they can play board games and also help them in their day to day activities. Studies have shown that quality time spent by children with their grandparents was beneficial to the health of both groups.
Note: Children are advised to stay away from elderly people at this time of the COVID-19 pandemic, as it is dangerous for both the grandparents and the children. But if they are already living with them, it cannot be helped. Only a safe distance has to be maintained. But the grandparents who stay away from their grandchildren and who cannot visit them at this time can still connect with them through video calls, Skype, phone calls or through chats on WhatsApp and Facebook. There are various technological options available today to stay connected with the people you love
Social Networking with Friends and Family
Children can stay connected with their friends via videoconference, Skype or FaceTime. Some of the popular social networking sites like Kidzworld, Club Penguin, Yoursphere where they can stay connected with their friends. But it is important for parents to monitor the online social media activities of their children to protect them. The parents need to discuss the issues and guide them properly. Teach them not to befriend strangers or to share anything that they wouldn’t want their teachers, college administrators and family to see, to be careful with the passwords and help them to enable privacy settings. Set the rules for the proper usage of technology like limiting screen time, not bring devices at the dinner table and bedrooms. Parents should set a good example by themselves following the rules to ensure the safe use of social media by the children.
Fun and Skill Enhancement Options for Children
There are many fun online courses available for people of all age groups. In times like these when we are receiving so much information online which is mostly scary and negative, some cheer can be spread through art and music. So enroll your kids for art, music, and dance courses online. Various courses like drawing, sketching, sculpting, flower arrangement, hand embroidery, crocheting are available online. The list is endless. When the children work with their team of classmates, they will be more engaged and interested. They get a chance to interact and share their ideas to bring out their creative skills.
Virtual Classrooms and Home study
Many parents are tensed about the academic backlog of their children, what with more school closings due to the Corona Virus spread. So many schools have come up with the idea of homeschooling and virtual classrooms for the children to keep up with the learning process as a long break can affect their studies. These closings can last longer than the usual vacation closings and the children’s learning should not stop because they are not able to attend the traditional school. Homeschooling has its benefits. The children can learn from the comfort of their house, commuting and the risk of the children’s health being affected can be avoided. Given that today’s generation of children is tech-savvy at a very young age, they can easily get accustomed to the virtual classroom environment. Some extent of parental guidance may be necessary. For parents who work from home can help the children out and those who work outside the home may have to take the help of relatives or friends or arrange for a nanny. The change in the schooling environment is a good opportunity for them to become more self-regulated and self-sufficient. This way social distancing can also be maintained while being productively engaged during the virus breakout.
Last but not the Least Tell them about the Virus outbreak
There is a lot of information out there which is confusing to the say the least to the adult themselves, then what can be said about the young children. It is necessary to explain the pandemic to the youngsters so that they understand the importance of personal hygiene and do not insist on going out. With the vacation plans ruined and restrictions on meeting with their friends and other children, it might make them feel overwhelmed, sad and bored. So it is pertinent to explain the harm the outbreak does and why we have to take the utmost care to be safe and healthy.
Social Distancing Is to Stay at Home and Bond With the Kids
Do you think this is the best time to bond with your kids
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2020 VIDYA D SAGAR