By Swati Sawhney
Whether it’s about schools being closed because of COVID-19 or not, it’s important to spend time with children. Spending time with the kids is not only about helping them with their homework or making sure that they do their chores; it could be simple yet fun stuff that you can do together. The more you enjoy playing with your children, the more they may be able to learn. Your children’s abilities to learn many skills in the early years will depend on their stages of development and their interests. Also, their learning will depend on the opportunities and support that the family offers them at home and in their surroundings.
Children are learning all the time, especially when they are playing. Learning for children is fun. Learning and playing with your children can also be fun for you. You will find that your child is curious and eager to talk and play with you.
By doing little things will help parents and children to bond with each other and strengthen family bonds. There are a lot of activities to consider, such as:
1. Bake and cook
Let your child help out in the kitchen as you cook or bake for them. It may start as a hassle for him or her, but they will know how to support you without being told when they start learning. And, this may be a great opportunity to teach them how to cook and bake. While many kids still prefer to play games or watch TV, cooking as a family and then eating the meal prepared together will lay the groundwork for kids to prioritise family later in life.
2. Plant seedlings and do some gardening
Teach your child how to water the plants as you do some gardening. Then get some seedlings to plant and let your child take care of the plant as it grows. It’s a great way to teach your child to love nature as you share your love of gardening with him. The gardening process requires a lot of effort and planning. You will get to spend real, quality time with each other when you start this process as a family. When you garden, it provides a wonderful way to relieve some stress and enjoy a bit of peace. This is also a fantastic time to teach your children more about plant life and the natural world.
3. Play games
Playtime is not only fun, but is also important for children as it makes them fitter, improves their communication skills, and helps them to build healthy interpersonal relationships. Why not use some play to enhance your own social experience? Getting your kids to shut their video games and iPads, and asking them to spend more time with you could benefit the family as a whole. Playing together leads to good memories. Outdoor games promote better hand-eye coordination and reduce stress. They relax your muscles, help you breathe better, promote better blood flow and in turn, relieve health issues such as headaches and fatigue.
4. Movie night
Having movie nights with your family during weekends is a great way to spend time together. Even if you are in a small family or a large family set-up, nothing beats cuddling up to watch your favourite movie. Besides, watching movies is an easy and inexpensive recreational activity that you can do with your family. Family movie night has advantages beyond the mere bonding between family members. Children who watch movies and television together with their parents also gain valuable insight into the world as to what is wrong and right.
5. Read together
Taking time each day to read or engage in a literacy activity as a family can improve your child’s literacy skills and yours too. You play an important role in encouraging reading for fun, and your reading behaviours influence your child’s attitude towards reading and future habits. Reading together also creates an opportunity for family discussion. Books can create unique chances for parents to teach lessons and family values through discussion.
Make sure everybody enjoys the activity at hand, to make the most of your family’s time. There are plenty of activities to choose from, just pick the ones that cater to your family and their particular interests.
(The author is founder, The Center of Healing.)
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