So let’s start working out some tips that may help you for making this lockdown time a useful time as we have no idea as to when the schools will open. I think the first and foremost lesson all parents need to ingrain in their children is habit of washing hands specially after the use of toilet, cleaning the toilet before use, bathing, keeping a hand sanitizer always handy, tissue papers, following the general rules of maintaining a social distance when they will go out eventually and also proper disposal of used things. You may say that this is nothing new , we had been telling them all about it since it began but what I am insisting is a training should be followed rigorously so that it becomes second nature or the rule on which their well –being and hygiene stays at the back of their minds, and which they should never forget. This is the time that we need to prepare them for the coming present and future. We as a parent fully realize that the normal will be a new normal and it will not be the same.
The second important thing is bringing children back to their previous or original schedule. Yes, we are hoping that in near future the schools will reopen but during this period of lockdown, the children are already into the habit of sleeping late, getting up late and doing their daily chores at their own free will. For them it’s an extended vacation. It’s high time that the parents juggle them up back to the same routine that they followed but at home. You have to set a time table and make them run through it as if they are back to schools. It’s extremely important to get their mind set working again because the more loose ends they are in, the more it will become difficult once life gets normal. So you better start cracking and pull your children back to school at home. Set a time table for them.
Learn how to mix studies with other important activities i.e. look out for such material that has combination or ingredients to learn by fun. (The parents should check out few sites I am pasting here) https://en-in.girlswhocode.com/ , https://codakid.com/coding-for-kids-the-ultimate-guide-for-parents-2/, https://www.tynker.com , https://www.stemrobo.com/The fun studies should have positive spins. E-classes, webinars, e-learning and various seminars for children and young adults are available. NitiAyog web site has many educative quizzes for kids of all age.
It is true that it is hard to shield our children from realities that are coming into our homes through T.V and other media sources but as a parent I would only let them know age appropriate truths. The truth about Covid -19 should be told to them in small-nugget form. Please, save them from watching any kind of news. Access to media has to be limited and yet, we need to give them some space to talk to their friends on WhatsApp or cell phone or video calls etc. In order to maintain their privacy a separate room with a time limit should to be given to them with a flexible schedule daily. It’s important not to make them feel left out by their friends or peer’s but we need to keep tabs on the usage of cell phone be it games or having a conversation with friends. The family phone calling should be followed rigorously. They need to learn that it’s not only their friends that are important but the other family members such as grandparents, uncles, unties, cousins etc and all those who form close family circles should be called either daily or weekly according to the free time they get from their studies and other activities permit them. They can also use face time, Zoom or simply post messages of good night’s mornings or motivational images, make spooky cards , post their selfies or share write up on how their life is on daily basis to their family member’s who are not living with them.
Make them responsible, right from making their beds, washing their small clothes like inner wears, helping to laying the table for lunches or dinner’s, cleaning of the house or any other small tits-bits that develop a habit of self reliance in them. Hobbies with a difference can be incorporated. I learned stitching and knitting from my mother during summer and winter vacations and then later at school. Yes, the craft classes are now taken out from time table in many schools which is a sad reflection. But now in this lockdown period, you can teach your children how to use needle to mend a button, hem, running or those basic stitches which will help them when no help is available. We can also teach them basic knitting. Knitting by hands is now a lost art but still there are many U tubes available that can teach you how to do it. Giving an incentive for work would help them learn the importance of money. All over the western countries parents engage children in many work (they call it job) at home for which children are given money as a reward or salary for the job done. Through these small jobs at home and then later in their lives helps them learn the value of work and money.
Teach them moral and social values and respect for all religions. A well rounded personality development can only be possible if we as a parent are able to inculcate correct moral and social values in our children. It’s important to teach them about the religion that we follow but also teach them about other religions and how to be respectful about other’s belief as well. For this purpose we can make use of stories from Panchtantra or Aesop’s tales that have moral and social messages. Make use of some beginner’s religious books or make children write Gratitude Journals, teach them various prayers, or you can consult hoards of sites that make free e-books on moral and social values available to the users. We can also make them read aloud religious books and chant mantras or prayers. Meditations and yoga as an important activity should be made compulsory on a selected week day.
Have chill time with your children. Yes, being naughty, telling crazy stories, cracking jokes, or just spooking around with them is extremely important for the children to be feel normal and not to be burdened by the outside circumstances. Further, it helps you as a parent to let the inner child in you too come at the forefront, to live in the moment, away from the sulking, grumbling and yelling us all the time, with a constant nagging complain that the children are at home. You can play indoor games as well as reach them those games that you used to play when you were at their age. You can set some time for some physical exercises like dancing with them on their favorite songs or by watching videos on U tube. Even a small verandah, can be used for badminton or rope jumping etc sports.
Deal with their arguments and small trivial problems by removing yourself from the situations or by being calm. Try not to worry sick when the children get into arguments, sibling fights, or increase tensions, this is going to happen. Do you remember how our parents kept abay when we got into those nasty fights and arguments, or how they would talk to us when our emotions got quite, or how they would ground us when we really got out of hands. I know with all the mess around us its difficult for us too not get into fits of anger but then count ten, or breath deep.(it helps sometimes) But just try to put yourself in their position and then proceed with the line of action. It’s important in this context that you too give yourself “ME-TIME”, an escape and take care of yourself to give a good parenting to your children during this time.
This is the time to be with your children, to know them, train their bodies, minds and souls, and get to know the hidden talents to shape their future. This time will not come back to you once children go back to their respective schools. It’s true that once schools reopen, you will breath in a sigh of relief but the memories that you make with them will linger long in the hearts and mind of your children. May be, this is the time that is God send to bond and gel with your children that they will be with you always and proudly tell their children that I and my parents had a real time together during that Covid -19.