It’s been a crazy couple of weeks and, to be honest, even the last few months have been filled with anxiety over Covid-19 – the viral pandemic which has caused widespread fear and crippled even the most secure health systems around the world. Recently, with the increase of cases in Nigeria, most schools across the country have shut down, leaving a lot of parents overwhelmed. It’s, however, a time to get creative and find ways to keep our little ones occupied.
Here are a few tips which may be useful now and even when this is over:
Get some books
Books are always a good idea and there are loads of online stores where you can get age-appropriate books for your children. To make it fun, ask your children to give a summary of what they read each day or, better still, start a reading competition where your child(ren) can be encouraged to read books through the break and write a report. The more books they read and write on, the bigger the prize they can win at the end of the challenge.
Get some art supplies
You may never know how artistic your child is until you give them the opportunity to express their creativity. Stock up on cardboard, paint, glitter glue, crayons, and so on. Also get newspapers to make sure your children don’t mess the house up too much. When they are done, they can also spend a good time cleaning up. Who knows, you may just discover that the next Picasso lives right under your roof.
I know television gets a lot of bashing but the truth is that our children can learn a lot from the right TV shows. So this is a good time to make sure your cable subscription is up and running, your parental lock is enabled and that they are watching the right content. Apart from cartoons, make sure they are watching educational and informative programmes so that they are actually learning through the screen. If you don’t have cable, then this is a good time for them to discover the great content available on our local channels. Whatever it is, make sure that the TV is tuned to the right channels so that they are watching age-appropriate content only.
The truth is that many children – whose schools closed abruptly – will have to write exams once schools reopen. So make sure they are still learning. There are tons of apps and resources online that can help us ensure they are learning while on their devices. A lot of schools are sending schoolwork through Google classroom and emails. Make sure the children are up to date.
Give them structure
When the children wake up, set aside a structured time for work and play. For example, you can start the day with play and then ensure that by noon, they put in 3 to 4 hours of learning or it can be vice-versa. Just make sure the children have some kind of routine during their time at home.
Yep! Before the advent of tabs and all, we spent good time playing games like Ayo, Whots, Scrabble, Ludo, Monopoly, Snakes and Ladders and many more. Get those games and have good old fashioned fun with your children. You can order any of these games from online vendors and they are quite cheap too. Your children don’t know how to play WHOT? Awesome! This is a good time to teach them and form lasting memories.
Remember the ‘great outdoors’? Well, it’s time to rediscover outdoor play. If you have your own house, then it just got easier – your compound is a good place to start. Tenten, Suwe and even just running around are good ways to keep occupied, have fun and burn some energy.
With many families all spending more time at home, it’s a good time to bond. Spend time with your child talking, teaching and generally getting to know them better. More time with family is always a good idea!