Key points from the article -
- How do you tell your children what's happening around the world without scaring them?
- How to engage children during the pandemic?
We went from living our life normally everyday to being asked to stay at home within a matter of days. Schools were shut down, offices, movie theatres, parks everything that we considered normal was changed. For the most part of last year we were all confined to the four walls of our house which added immense stress on many families. Staying away from your family and friends was how you kept yourself and everyone around you safe. Hugging became a luxury we couldn’t afford anymore and most importantly countless lives were lost and many people are still losing their loved ones.We survived the first wave of Covid-19 in 2020 but this time it’s come back harsher and stronger. The second wave of covid is making matters worse. Once again we are asked to stay at home, schools and colleges have no scope of opening soon. From the unavailability of oxygen cylinders and hospital beds, to a possible second lockdown, the environment around us has once again become gloomy and staying positive through all this is the only option we have left.For parents, the situation is even more difficult. They have to explain to their children why they can’t go out and meet their friends again, why staying at home is important and social distancing is still the new normal.
Staying positive and being patient is crucial for our children. When they see their parents upset or when they have to do something without being given a reason why, it can create some animosity between children and parents. Here are a few tips which we think may help -
- Answer questions honestly and truthfully about the pandemic - Children are stronger and much more resilient than we give them credit for. Talk to your child about what’s going on in the outside world, explain it to them in simple terms. Children can sense when something is wrong which is why explaining to them what’s going on is important as otherwise, they may look for alternate ways of receiving information which may lead to them getting misinformed.
- Acknowledge your child’s feelings - Children will be upset when you impose certain rules on them such as going over to a friend’s house. Talk to them, let them know that you understand their situation and understand that it’s difficult staying away from their friends. Acknowledging someone’s feeling without blatantly dismissing them shows the respect that you have for them, it shows that you care.
- Keep in touch with your loved ones - We may be separated from our loved ones physically due to the pandemic, but they’re always close to us through technology. Make phone calls, video calls and talk to stay positive.
- Talk to your child before you leave the house - This may sound a little extreme but we have to understand that children are young, they can get scared easily. Tell them where you're going and when you’ll be back. Show them the safety precautions you're taking and just reassure them that all will be well soon.
- Structure your day - We may not be conducting our daily activities the way we used to do it per corona, but that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t follow a schedule at all. Set up morning routines, allocate tv time, cook food together having a structured routine gives a sense of normalcy which we all need right now.
How do you engage kids during the pandemic?
Keeping kids occupied and busy is a tough job. Add the extra pressure of working from home and being stressed about the pandemic. This makes the job that much more difficult, but also worth it as it gives parents more time to spend with their children. There are many activities that parents can do with their kids and keep them engaged and entertained whilst also spending time together as a family.
- Books - Books have the power to heal. Books are magical and you can just get lost in a story and be mesmerized by its magnificence. You can read books to your children or you can read them together. This is not only great for children and their growth as it gives them the chance to explore a language, a story and learn from them.
- Meal time prep - Get children to help you out in the kitchen. Teaching children how to cook is a huge step in making your child independent. If your kids are small then get them to help you set the dinner table or help with small easy tasks in the kitchen. You can use this time to teach them about various shapes, do maths together, and measure ingredients. You can use this time to bond with your children as well as create a fun learning experience. Confidence is vital to any individual. Without confidence in ourselves we can’t properly grow in life. Showing kids the importance of being self reliant by teaching them how to cook, will give them the confidence to take on new challenges and grow.
- Gardening - Gardening doesn’t have to be extravagant. It could be in a corner or in a window wherever there’s a possibility. You can teach your kids how to grow produce which is organic. Growing your own produce is much more satisfying than simply going to a supermarket. Although time consuming and sometimes the amount of produce may be less but it’s something that you took care of with your children, which you grew together making it that much more worth it.
- Take up dancing - Learn a dance form with your kids! This could be a great way to bond with your children and do something fun and interesting at the same time. Dance is a great form of expression, it helps reduce stress, helps build confidence. You can take up dance classes virtually through zoom, google meets, Skype and other applications.
- Experiment with food - If you love cooking and experimenting with food then this could be a great fun activity for you to do with your children. You can either whip up some dish or just put on a blindfold and do a random taste test with your children. You can make this interesting and make it Masterchef style by adding a points system and rewards which is a great way to spend time with your children.
- DIY Art - DIY or Do It Yourself are fun ways to stay engaged and have fun. You can use your skills to make art with your kids. You can make candles together, press flowers and leaves between sheets of wax paper, press them and make fun art. Making art is fun, it’s relaxing and extremely satisfying. If you are feeling inspired then you can use this time to redecorate your house. It doesn’t have to be too complicated, you could start by just painting a wall or by moving some furniture around.
- Use your imagination - Spend an evening with your children making up stories and enacting them! You can take them out on fun adventures without leaving the comfort of your home. This is a great way to improve communication skills and increase creativity.
Staying positive in these trying times is difficult but in order to move forward we must keep a positive attitude not just for us, but for our children as well. It may still take the world a long time to recover from the pandemic and all we can hope for is for our loved ones to stay safe. While the pandemic is bad, something good always comes out of it. If you feel low, think of it as a means of spending more time with your family which we wouldn’t otherwise normally be able to do.