To engage kids at home during the lockdown and support them through it is not a simple task. Here are a few simple ways to build understanding, and create a learning space at home, that you can implement immediately.
Verbalise Your Support
Admit it. We’re not used to being around the same four people for so long and it’s creating more friction than we thought possible. Sparks are bound to fly when there are differences in opinion and you can’t really ‘storm out of the house’ right now. In such times, an effective way of dealing with temper tantrums is to have an open discussion on the emotions brewing within each member of the family. Create a space where you can have an honest, friendly and mutually responsive conversation with your child. Adults aren’t the only ones distressed by these circumstances. By encouraging your child to express their emotions you can help them relieve themselves of the burden of carrying these thoughts around and make them feel supported and cared for. What’s important is to be on their side. If they tell you that they feel angry and irritated, let them know that you too feel that same way sometimes, and it’s ok. Learn with them about how these stressful moments can be dealt with, and assure them that they can talk to you whenever they feel the need to. Remember not to coerce them for too much information because that’ll only push them further into their cocoon. Be a friend, and help them build resilience.
Work Alongside Them
We’ve often heard people say that kids imitate what they observe in their parents. And when all 24 hours of the day are spent by kids at home, it becomes even more critical to keep this in mind. When your child has schoolwork to complete or a half-finished project that’s being laid off for television or video games, try not to yell at them. Instead, grab a book or choose a task that doesn’t require you to get up from a place for an hour or so and work on it alongside your child. Tell them that you both have to finish your respective tasks by the end of the hour after which you’ll take a refreshment break! This will require some consistent effort because Day 1 may not be as successful as you expect it to be. But even if the work accomplished is 10%, give them a pat on the back and motivate them to do better the next day. This way, a fixed routine gets built and the child develops a sense of work discipline. This is also a great time to start pursuing a hobby. Little things like gardening, easy-to-do craft, or creating a picture book are excellent ways to develop a skill as well as explore a new interest area.
Make Smart Online Choices
To engage your kids at home with an activity is one thing, productive engagement is a whole different ball game. While regulating screen time may be a priority, it is also important to see how much of the child’s online engagement is enabling value addition. One of the best ways to ensure this is to have the child join an online learning community where they can pursue a common interest with others while also having the opportunity to make new friends. It will help them remain occupied with common projects taken up by such groups, ideate, and create in the company of those who share similar interests.
Tickle The Fun-Bone
As schools and colleges have resorted to online classes for students, the screen time has definitely increased. Add to this the restrictions now in place, and the child has barely any space for playtime or for physical activity of any sort. It’s the perfect opportunity to get creative and engage kids at home with indoor games! Bring out those puzzles from storage or create your own jigsaws. Inventing a new game together is one of the best ways to teach children to collaborate and work together with someone. You can also make household chores creative by playing out a scene for each task and weaving an entire story around them.
While indoor tactics work excellently, a few minutes of walking or running in the breeze is healthy. So give yourself and your child the liberty to smell the flowers and take a swing in the park. It’s a great way to relax and rejuvenate!