The coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic has upended family life around the world. Schools closing, parents working remote, social distancing — it is a lot to navigate for anyone, and especially for parents, it is becoming an arduous task to juggle quite a number of responsibilities simultaneously. Learning should not stop because schools have been shut globally to control the pandemic. Parents are children’s first and most important teacher, and this is a good opportunity for you to get involved in your children’s learning. We reached out to Funmilola Lawore and Ruth Adekoya of Pampers Private School to offer suggestions for parents to help make the most of their child’s time off from school while keeping in mind child development and children’s reactions to stressful and changing situations.
Here are some practical important tips shared:
Create a routine
Since changes in routine can be stressful, it will be helpful to talk with your children about why they are staying home and what your daily structure will be during this time. Life during the shutdown can be boring and sedentary, therefore let them help create a daily schedule that can hang on the refrigerator or somewhere they can see it each day. Be sure to include periods for online learning, television, outdoor play, and nap time.
Taking Education Online
While schools are closed, Pampers has moved its lessons online by providing virtual instructions and assignments. To participate effectively in any online learning, it is imperative that you provide a reliable device preferably a computer for your child. During scheduled times for learning, ensure there are no distractions to help your children concentrate fully. Provide all necessary school supplies such as stationery and exercise books. Ensure there is a stable internet connection as well. “Make sure your child keeps up with the assignments and can engage in any virtual instruction,” Funmilola Lawore says. If your child’s school is not providing these options, turn to sources from reputable home-school organizations and websites, as many of these organizations provide lessons and materials for every grade level.
Schedule Indoor Activities
Transform your living room into a kid’s gym and create some fun and age-appropriate sports stations. You can put a trail of paper sheets on the floor which the kids have to walk over without touching anything else but the paper. Time jumping on the spot, which can be made more difficult for older kids. To make it more competitive, you can use the stopwatch to time the duration of each exercise. But make sure to stick to age-appropriate durations. It’s about the fun and switching back and forth between the stations rather than aiming for the next world record. Indoor activities are also a great way to keep children occupied and entertained at the same time. This is a great time to teach children how to play board games and cards. Let the children explore their artistic side as you create space for art activities such as painting, colouring, craft, and collage.
The importance of reading cannot be overemphasized. Being home all day gives children an opportunity to increase and improve their reading skills. Include reading blocks which could be shared reading, independent reading, and silent reading in your daily schedule. Twenty to thirty minutes a day is a good start.
As of now, experts say you are fine to be outside as long as you keep social distancing in mind. Games like hurling, basketball, soccer, or tennis can provide great fun and exercise. However, you must keep the group small and you have to consider your home environment as well.
Children love to help out in the kitchen especially if they would be rewarded with treats. Let them create their simple recipes and direct them in preparing the dishes. Get your children to explore baking during this period, allowing them to experiment with ingredients like butter, flour, eggs, marshmallows, chocolate, etc. Cooking is an essential life skill for children – both boys & girls.
Television time routine/Use of Electronic Devices
Children will choose to watch television over any other activity. To keep the children from overindulging, make television time predictable by having a set time. Do not be manipulated into extending television time by your children’s tantrums. In fact, you can make television time a treat to motivate the children to complete their tasks. The use of electronic devices should also be encouraged but monitored to avoid excessive usage.
Movie nights are very entertaining and something for all the kids to look forward to. You can even make some popcorn, get chocolates and sweets, and create a cinema outlook. To avoid arguments on the choice of movies, you can put everyone’s name on a bowl and pick out one – the person whose name is pulled out gets to pick a movie first and this goes on until everyone has had a turn to pick a movie. Try your best to spend as much time with your kids and discover things you didn’t know about them during this period. You can take the time to go for walks or switch up your exercise routine while ensuring a good measure of social distancing.
“Taking care of you and your child’s mental health during this period is a priority and It is important to let them know at an appropriate developmental level the reality of COVID-19. Children overhear conversations and it can be frightening to them if their questions and concerns are not clarified. Let them know how important it is to protect themselves as well as the rules for social distancing, hygiene and how this affects their new routine” – Ruth Adekoya, Pampers Private School.