By Samai Singh
Two weeks ago, after the panic of the first Covid 19 case in Delhi, I decided to keep my daughter home and a few days later the government decided to close all primary schools till the end of March. Subsequently, all schools and colleges across our nation are shut too, and while we all applaud our authorities on the decision to keep our kids safe it is not easy to confine our children indoors and not drive ourselves nuts in the process.
I, for one, went through the stages of panic and grief-anger, denial and finally acceptance, and in the process stopped getting mad at my child for every little thing. After all, just as we’re not used to having them around all day, they’re not used to being cooped up indoors and being watched with a mother’s hawk eye, being told to wash or sanitise their hands all day. So after you stop looking at your WhatsApp messages and your newsfeed, get yourselves a glass of wine, or a good set of ear plugs-take a few calming breaths and try these tips on how to make the most of this time with your little or not so little ones.
Whether you have a balcony with a few pots of a sprawling garden this is the best season to plant. So get your tots to don some gardening gloves, take out those plastic spades and watering cans and plant a few seeds in some empty pots or flower beds. Kids love getting messy and this is a perfect activity because they will lovingly water the pots every day and actually be able to see the fruits of their labour burst to life. In these times of distress there is nothing more reassuring than watching something grow.
Which kid doesn’t like devouring cupcakes or pizzas? Make them don their chef’s hats and aprons and get baking. Get them to choose their veggie toppings and decorate their pizzas or bake your own cookies, muffins or cakes-they get to measure, mix, lick the batter and then learn the art of patience while they wait for their creations to bake and cool, and then the icing on the top-sprinkles and gems!
Curate a playlist on Alexa or Spotify of your little one’s favourite tunes (sneak in a few you like too), crank up the volume, dim the lights, and dig out the bubble machine or bubble wands for your impromptu house party and dance like no one is watching (PS: no one is). Add a little popcorn, jelly and lemonade to the menu and your mini me will be thrilled to bits.
Go on a pebble hunt in your parking lot. Wash and dry your pebbles and using tempera paints let them create lovely paperweights in patterns of their choosing-the easiest to start with is a ladybug or flowers. Have stickers lying around? Get some colourful craft paper and make bookmarks or frames using them and glitter pens. Bonus: these make great practical gifts for grandparents. Sort through your digital library and actually identify pictures you want to print and go old school by making an album you can flip through with your kids.
Been meaning to sort out the kids’ clothes and toy cupboards forever? Now’s the time to channel your inner Marie Kondo. Let them help you in sorting through their stuff. Fill up boxes of stuff that they’ve outgrown and toys and games they don’t play with and donate it to your local charity. It’ll help them understand the nature of sharing.
If there’s anything you’ve been putting off teaching your child to do-whether it’s kicking the bottle habit, feeding themselves or learning to dress on their own-you have the time now-so make the most of it.
Children love chores if you make them into fun games. Get them to help you with loading the washing machine, dusting, making the beds, doing the dishes or just tidying up a shelf-all skills your child will find forever useful.
Boring is a word we do not use in my house-actually there’s a list of them but I won’t go into that right now, but the bottomline is there is always something we can find to entertain ourselves. This is the perfect time for your children to let their imaginations fly free. There is no hectic schedule of school, classes, playdates and parties, which means they need to find ways to entertain themselves. You might be surprised with what they come up with-rhyming games, knights and princesses, being super sleuths or super heroes, let them have fun figuring it out. Let’s enjoy the timeout together!
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines