What to do at home during Covid-19

Everyone is home due to COVID- 19 which is a novel one for most of us. It may seem like a situation of indefinite grounding for most children (probably parents too), but we surely can shift the focus inwards. Since kids cannot head out for playdates nor activity clubs, we will have to hustle and deal with their boredom, all the while managing house chores and completing our work assignments from home. First, let us address the concerns regarding a possible gap in education. The current situation has opened up doors to varied possibilities in online learning. Most schools and colleges have shifted their instructions online with teachers taking classes via Skype and Zoom. Encourage your children to take charge of their education by attending these virtual classes and complete the work assigned.

Several publishers have made e-books available online for free. Parents may also access websites providing other free- of- cost resources such as Brain Pop, Curiosity Stream, Splash Learn, Turtle Diary. Of course, YouTube channels are a wonderful resource for easy revision of concepts.

Next, lets focus on some simple ways in which children can keep themselves occupied with a little help from you:

  1. Have a routine: Wake up at the regular hours and let everyone in the household know of the schedule. Give enough time for yourself to complete your work, and slot in time for their homework too. It will create a sense of purpose and responsibility and will not let anyone slip into the vacation mode. Maybe you also want to keep an hour each day specifically dedicated to an activity such as play, cooking, colouring, craft or reading.
  2. Play & exercise: Using play as a method to keep them busy and tire them out by the evenings is absolutely necessary. Board games (such as Monopoly, Codenames, Catan Junior, Sequence) card games (UNO, Snap, Rummy, Bluff) or just a simple game of charades will keep everyone occupied for hours, create opportunities to communicate, developing skills of negotiation and patience. Get creative with different exercise and yoga routines (Cosmic Kids yoga is a good reference on YouTube). Do not forget the ever reliable activity and colouring books which can be easily ordered online and restocked.
  3. Use screen time productively: In this scenario, it will be almost impossible to limit and supervise screen time. However, here are some ideas to make their use of tech more constructive- virtual museum and zoo tours (Van Gogh, Louvre, Boston Children’s Museum and the Houston Zoo), educational shows on Netflix (Ask the story bots, Explained, Edge of the Universe, Brainchild) and Prime (Miracles of nature, Mister Maker, Scope, Quark Science) as well as YouTube. They can even sign up for short courses online on photography, sketching or coding.
  4. Teach them a new skill: Grab this period to teach your kids life skills of cooking, sewing, eating etiquettes, folding clothes, organising and scheduling, balancing a cheque book or even understanding shares and the market.
  5. Include them in household chores: Doing the laundry, mopping, cleaning up after dinner, doing the dishes may be mundane, yet important tasks. Please provide them with some incentives once they complete them such as giving the treats or even some extra pocket money. An achievement board is a wonderful way of acknowledging each family members’ contribution.
Your children will observe you and hopefully role model positive habits while they are at home. Engaging in self-care is necessary, pacing yourself and taking time to relax and not to be constantly on the go are some habits that could be engaged in as well.

Establishing an open space for expression is necessary within the family. Children will surely be worried about the future, just as we all are. It is important to acknowledge their fears and worries but, at the same time, teach them coping strategies. Most children will seek out their own sources of information regarding the pandemic. Parents must point them towards legit sources such as internet websites and newspaper articles rather than relying on social media forwards and posts. Some websites that are reliable are that of WHO, CDC AND AIIMS.

Providing children with the truth is key. However, do not use statements that may create panic. It may backfire to guarantee any certainty, because the truth is that these are uncertain times and not in our control.

For example, children may question you about the lockdown. A statement such as, “The virus survives only in humans and therefore everyone needs to stay at home so that the virus cannot find us” creates a sense of control over the situation for children and reassures them that things will eventually be good.

Yes, the situation will be good and life as we know it will resume. We all must create a scaffold for children so that they emerge from this experience as a resilient generation.

Image source-Google

Author

Benaaz Irani

Benaaz Irani

(Senior School Counselor)
at Aditya Birla World Academy