How to keep the kids engaged home during free time (Non- Technology based)

It takes a village to raise a child. As the lockdown extends, this saying is slowly becoming so important. We are all trying to give the best time to our children without much help from our otherwise available human resources! We are becoming experts at juggling. Juggling, work “at”home and work “from” home. How I wish we had a survival guide to this “how to be a stress free parent and manage work schedules” drama! Well, that isn’t happening because that is so not human! A friend kept telling me all through my pregnancy that ideal parenting is a myth! I couldn’t agree more!

When you're a parent, it can be difficult to work with your children around from home, who want to be amused all the time. Children require attention 24x7 and parenting whilst meeting tight deadlines, responding to endless emails and attending calls every two hours, can be difficult. With the rapid spread of this epidemic, we don't know how long we will have to live like this!

As a working from and at home parent, I have tried every single thing for my extra active and inquisitive 3-year-old! It is even more difficult to keep your child entertained and engaged when they don’t have a virtual school happening.

In April, I played a “good” and ideal Mum. I structured his day with short bursts of activities ranging from painting on the wall, to playing with doh, to playing catch and ZERO screen time. The result- super exhausted me and super excited son! I slowly began to realize that I need to control this situation and handle it differently. The point was not whether to let him watch the screen. The point was whether those options were sustainable. The only thing that would work for me was to teach him to play independently. So I am writing this post dividing it into 10 things that worked for me and continue to be my saviour till date!

Independent Child Play: No parental guilt!!

  1. Building blocks: Nothing spells awesomeness like blocks! One can play, build, create, break and recreate for hours!
  2. Painting on the wall: We have a dedicated wall to be painted. It’s the most creative wall in the house. Reason: Your child will not paint every other wall or scribble or doodle on any blank space that he sees. Besides, larger canvas longer time to fill it!! Yay!! You can attend that one-hour meeting in peace!
  3. Straws: Invest in some straws and use play-doh as a connector. This will require little help from an adult. However, children are smart enough to pick up the trick in one go!
  4. Puzzles: Start from 3 pieces to 4 to 26. Higher the challenge- longer is the time taken to accomplish it!
  5. Magnets: Magnets attract you! Invest in different type of magnets- horse shoe, bar magnet, magnet balls. Let your child go around the house exploring!
Time Together- FUN FUN FUN

  1. Household Chores: Children love to be involved in things that we do. Of course you cannot expect 3 and 4 year olds to do big chunks of work, but just the fact that they are involved, makes a HUGE difference. And more so for the boys! It is imperative for them to know that household chores belong to everyone in the house. I got my son to mop the floor, wipe the kitchen cutlery, fill the bottles, arrange the shoes in the shoe rack and even make his bed! Of course he didn’t do it perfectly and it meant one of us doing the whole thing again. You can even let them help you knead the dough. Any non-fire cooking is always a hit!
  2. Role Play: This is one of my favourites! We would do a tea party, play kings and queens, put up a pretend hospital and the likes! This is one of the best stress busters after a hard day at work!!
  3. Books: No day is complete without having read 5 books!! So by now, I would have read 3 little pigs some 100 times. Goldilocks and 3 bears – some 50 times (less favourite). By far- Little Krishna, Arjun the Warrior Prince and Peppa Pig Series are winners!!
  4. Traditional games: I am a big aficionado of traditional games! They are fun, fuss free and economical!! What else do we want! Dedicate every evening to games like hopscotch, hide and seek, rock-paper-scissor, one leg hop, lemon and spoon and the likes! Make sure to let your child lose a few times. Life lessons are really important!
  5. Scavenger Hunt: Hide some toys or some veggies in easily accessible locations. Drop clues and hints as you go. I started with potatoes!
For pre-schoolers, it is super important to set the rhythm of the day. It may take a little while to incorporate changes, but consistency is the key. We do not want to create couch potatoes. We want curious and happy children! That’s what keeps the house alive and makes it truly a home! Do drop in ideas that have worked for you in this lockdown! With children around, we constantly need to upgrade ourselves!

Image source-pexel


Ms. Harshada Keer

Ms. Harshada Keer

Activities & Events Coordinator-Srs Spanish
Teacher-International Curriculum
Aditya Birla World Academy


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