When the pandemic and its ugly effects began to unfold, none of us thought we were treading towards unending lockdowns and a list of restrictions that would change our lives for quite a while. Perhaps not knowing the gravity of this, making it easier for each of us to accept the situation since we took one day at a time right from the beginning.
It’s quite a while since what would have ideally been their summer vacation has ended. It is that time of the year, when most of our kids would have been back to school, getting back to their routines and class schedules, leaving them with just the time to come home, get some playtime with friends, finish their tasks, and hit the sack. This is not the case this year. With the lockdown and the lingering uncertainty, kids have been housebound for a long time now, without avenues for physical activity or extra-curricular activities. The constant question of how to keep kids positively engaged is without a doubt, the lingering thought in the minds of parents who are trying to cope with the situation themselves.
Here are some easy ways to keep your kids positively entertained during this lockdown:
Set up time-tables – It is not an easy or a plausible solution to expect kids to fall back into an abstract routine in the absence of a regular school day. However, bringing in some sort of discipline and routine is a must. As the gap gets wider, falling back to routine also gets harder. Setting up reasonable study time with a balanced roster for each subject, setting goals and assigning tasks, and encourage them to finish them within the time given helps them to work with some perspective.
Involve them in chores – Involving kids in household chores not only teaches them independence. There can’t be a better time to teach them the importance of being involved in household chores. Involve them in small tasks like helping with the dishes, making their beds, organizing their clothes, and such. This will teach them responsibility and give them a sense of being helpful around the house.
Encourage them to pursue their passion – Depending on the interest and mood of each child, encourage them to have dedicated time each to spend doing what they love, be it music, art, reading, scrapbooking, or solving puzzles. It is wise to not overwhelm our choices and enroll them in additional extra-curricular classes happening online. A clear choice of a couple of hobbies they want to concentrate on can help them hone their skills and enjoy the process too.
Family time – Planning board games, movie nights, tea time at the table, reading together or simply having a good conversation time together before going to bed, can count as refreshing quality time with family helping everyone in the family to share their moments and discuss each other’s day. This can be a wonderful time to plan activities like terrace gardening and even involving them in simple cooking or baking.
Bond with friends and family – With this lockdown and the inability to step out for a weekend getaway, visiting friends or family, or even going out an ice-cream date with kids, it can get quite monotonous and overwhelming for kids and adults alike. We all crave connection and it is good to establish a regular routine of video calling loved ones during this lockdown. Encourage kids to connect with their friends this way and also talk to cousins and relatives this way.
Help them stay positive – As much as it is important to teach them the importance of social distancing, good hygiene practices, and staying safe during this time, it is also important to stay calm as a parent and not overload them with caution and information. An anxious parent is bound to raise an anxious child. Children have fears and worries that they are unable to express sometimes. It is a good idea to check on them regularly, how they feel about the situation, to assure them that this is going to pass, and to pass on hope and positivity to them. Over cautioning can lead to kids developing phobias and fears as they grow up.
We have come this far in the fight against the pandemic. It won’t be far before kids get back to school and their routines. Until then, let’s help them stay healthy, happy, and positively engaged.