By Kartik Bajoria
Children love to play outside when it’s raining. From splashing about in the water to making and rowing paper boats in streams of rainwater, the monsoon presents many delights that compel both children as well as adults. Having said that, it can’t be all play, all the time in the rain outside. Only a limited time can be spent getting wet. So with the monsoon looming large and the potential for kids to be bored trapped indoors, what can parents do to engage their children inside the confines of the home?
1. Don’t be bored….board!
With the world and new generations steadily moving towards a digital lifestyle, the rains present the best opportunity to reconnect with a host of board games. The best part about these games, timeless classics such as Scrabble, Pictionary and a host of other strategy-games is that first they encourage and enhance family time and can prove to be a great bond-building exercise. Second, they also develop a child’s skills sets and thinking abilities, by testing and honing critical as well as analytical aptitude.
2. Cook up a storm
While there might be thunder and rain outside, leaving you stuck at home, it doesn’t mean you can’t cook up your own storm inside! The monsoon is a great time to engage kids in cooking. Yet another pursuit that not only teaches them a great skill but also motivates family bonding. Bake desserts and cakes, younger children can indulge in no-fire cooking; a plethora of cooking awaits for all to do together and then enjoy the fruits of one’s labour by partaking of a delicious home-cooked meal.
The absolutely perfect opportunity for kids to have other kids over. With growing school commitments children nowadays barely have time to connect with their friends outside of the school or classrooms. The monsoon presents a wonderful chance to do this. Have a bunch of your child’s friends over for a long-day in, or even a sleepover, and allow them to let loose, just be kids. It will keep them busy, happy, and allow them to alleviate some of the stress of being a student these days.
4. Put them to work
There are innumerable tasks and chores to be done around the house. Invariably, children have little or nothing to do with them. While it’s raining out, get them to work inside. Not only will this occupy them constructively, it will instill a most valuable lesson in responsibility and accountability, and hopefully make them appreciate the selfless efforts that parents make in order for kids to have the cushy lives that they do!
5. Family time
The rains and having to stay indoors is the perfect family-bonding time. And I don’t just mean among kids and parents. Ensure that it is a time when kids spend quality time with other members of the family – cousins, grandparents, aunts and uncles. Even if you don’t live together (in a joint family set-up), one can easily arrange for the kids to visit and stay-over with family during the monsoon. Family is that one vital link that a child needs in order to form his or her own self-concept and personality. The wisdom and self-awareness that comes from being with family is simply invaluable.
6. Inspire, create, perform
Free time trapped at home can be channelised artistically as well. It is a great time for kids to read or be read aloud to. Get your children’s imaginations kickstarted and watch their individual flights of fancy take shape by encouraging them to write, draw, even put together a little play or skit based on a story you shared with them. This will enthrall, inspire and lead to creative self-expression that will be educative as well as entertaining.
7. DIY projects
Many small niggles around the house – the broken door latch, the loose cupboard hinge; the monsoon is a great time to carefully initiate your kids into some Do It Yourself repairs. Let them, at the very least, assist you while you mend these long-due items. Not only will they be positively preoccupied, they will also develop skills and an appreciation for what it entails to run a household.
8. Finally, enjoy!
There really isn’t a better excuse to kick back, put your feet up, and enjoy a family activity while chomping down on some hot fritters. A great movie, an old family photo album, reliving a recent holiday; the rains make for a great platform to live, love and share!
(Writer, educator and moderator, Kartik Bajoria holds workshops on creative writing and personality development at various schools.)