Updated: May 25, 2021 2:44:23 pm
By Dr Vikas Satwik
Summer arrived with COVID-19 lockdowns, and most schools are yet to reopen. Although it may appear to be a child’s dream come true, the truth isn’t so glamorous. We are not on holiday. We’re not going to any of the water parks. We aren’t even going to the library or the neighborhood playground.
We’ve all had to adapt to and embrace life in the midst of a pandemic. And, though it has undoubtedly been difficult for us, consider what it has been like for children.
The running joke has always been that today’s children would never understand how difficult our lives were. But, to be frank, most of us have never had to deal with anything like this before. The tension and confusion that comes with a pandemic are nothing compared to walking six miles uphill in the snow or living without the internet. We should at least try to grasp what they’re going through and assist them in coping during these trying times.
Maintain a well-ordered routine
Since your children are used to order at school, aim to keep a loose schedule each day. Maintain the same routine in the mornings as though they were going to school, then make plans for the rest of the day. Establish blocks of time for intensive work, with breaks for a healthy snack or playtime for the younger children, if they have schoolwork to do. You may also render a chore plan.
Take advantage of online educational resources
Some schools provide services to parents, while others do not. Fortunately, there are many excellent tools available on the internet. Amazing Educational Resources has some of the best and is constantly updating its lesson plans, while Scholastic has excellent online courses for specific age ranges beginning in pre-kindergarten.
Learn to speak a new language
Use this opportunity to teach your children a foreign language (and then schedule a trip to a destination where you can put your new skills to the test until it’s safe to fly again!). There are several virtual programs available where kids can learn new languages.
The knowledge of gardening
Gardening is a great choice for children as it allows them to enjoy the fresh air and get their hands into the work of planting directly. It also teaches them how plants are grown and where food comes from. It’s a mix of hands-on science lessons and body active which keeps their mind engaged. And once the plants are well-grown, they can see the results and feel a sense of achievement.
Set aside time to play
Playtime is an important part of maintaining a sense of normalcy in your children’s lives as well as promoting emotional well-being. Spend little time outside, if possible, by playing in the backyard or going for a walk around the block. Keep a safe distance from others, however, it is recommended to stay at home and only step out when needed.
Develop the habit of reading
Make the most of your free time by reading some new books. Schedule some family reading time; if your children aren’t yet ready for chapter books, start a series together as a family. If you don’t want to read aloud, audiobooks are a good option.
You shouldn’t be forgotten
While it’s important to provide your children with the structure, stimulation, and guidance they need (as well as reassurance that everything will be fine), you must also remember to look after yourself and the other adults in the building. If you work from home, set up a workspace where you can complete your tasks. Ensure that your children understand that you want some alone time to complete your work.
Make sure that everybody in the house gets some alone time. Being in close quarters with family for an unknown period of time can be exhausting for anyone. Take the time to unwind and breathe deeply. We’re all going to make it through. It’s important to keep your family active while staying safe at home during the COVID-19 pandemic. The options for physical activity will open up as restrictions are lifted and we must keep safety and health in mind.
(The writer is Consultant Paediatrician & Neonatologist, Motherhood Hospitals, Hebbal, Bangalore)
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