On the 24th of March 2020, the honorable Prime Minister of India, Mr. Narendra Modi announced a 21-day national lockdown. While this poses several economic and social challenges, for many people how to manage kids during lockdown is a cause of major concern. Rightly so, post the Second World War, this is perhaps the biggest lockdown in human history. The effect of this lockdown on the lives of 1.3 billion citizens is undeniable. However, it is recent changes in the average Indian family structure that has made this lockdown all the way more difficult for young parents.
Today, there is a greater number of nuclear families in India than that in the past generations. Also, a good number of women are working, which puts them in a ‘both parents working and no grandparents at home’ kind of situation. With the lockdown, day-care centers and playschools are shut, parents cannot take their wards to playdates and yet they are expected to work from home for 8 (or more) hours and meet their deliverables. This puts them in a fix about how to keep their kids entertained while ensuring work productivity. If you are such a parent, here are some effective ways that you can opt for to engage your kids at home.
Amid juggling office work and household chores in the absence of maids, you might miss out on ensuring that your kids get enough rest. Lack of proper sleep makes people cranky and no one wants to deal with a cranky kid in the midst of a lockdown. One of the most important time management tips for parents is to encourage their kids to maintain the same sleep schedule that they did before the lockdown. Not only will it help children bounce back after the lockdown, but it will also ensure that they are getting ample rest.
While some private schools are conducting their classes remotely, not every child has classes and homework to cater to during this lockdown. Parents looking to manage kids during lockdown must encourage their children to study for at least a few hours every day during the lockdown. These days there are several e-learning portals for kids such as BYJUs, Dacobots, Sabakuch, etc. Based on your child’s age choose one that is the most appropriate for him or her.
While children should have the least possible amount of screen time, a couple of hours of movie time during the lockdown will not do them any harm. These days, there are several movies for kids, and you can allow your child to make a pick about the title of their choice. Acts like this will go a long way in fostering the decision-making abilities of a child. On a side note, an average movie lasts for a couple of hours. So, while your kid is glued to the screen, there’s a lot you can achieve.
As kids, we have grown up with comics and it is not fair on our part to keep our kids from these little pleasures. While procuring a physical comic may be a challenge during the lockdown, luckily there are other options. These days, the Adventures of Tintin, Asterix & Obelix and Archie comics can all be read on a digital device. Given the lockdown, Amar Chitra Katha is giving a free subscription for a month. Based on your child’s age and taste choose a comic series for him or her. Then, as they are transported to magical lands, you can take the worry of having to manage kids during lockdown off your list off chores.
No kid isn’t fond of playing. Now that your child is being deprived of outdoor games and playdates, you have to recreate a similar environment at home. While you definitely cannot create a swimming pool in your bathroom, you can always set out some family playtime every day. This can be used as a positive reinforcement for good behavior (such as a treat for not disturbing Mummy and Daddy during office hours). There are several games for kids in the market and your child must possess some of it. Try to familiarise yourself and your partner with the rules and get set to play. Conventional board games are another effective way of fostering family bonds.
Contribution In Housework
For kids more than 4 or 5 years of age, it is a good practice to encourage participation in household activities. This will help you to manage kids during lockdown while also teaching them some life-skills necessary for survival. Not only will this ease your load, but it will also instill a sense of responsibility in your kids and make them feel important. You can start by asking them to clear the plates or sweep the floor and then graduate to more demanding tasks. #ShareTheLoad is something that must be taught at home and will go a long way in character building.
Nurture A New Hobby
The lockdown provides a good opportunity for getting your kids to pick up a new hobby. From gardening to glass painting, there is a wide range of options for older kids. Younger kids can be encouraged to take up drawing, coloring or storytelling. You can also encourage them to exercise or do yoga. Encouraging your kids to pursue some of your hobbies will help you form a bond that will only grow stronger with time. Also, some of the habits that you inculcate during this lockdown will have a lifetime impact on the lives of your kids. So, be careful with what you choose.
Thus, as you look for ways to manage kids during lockdown it is important to consider the long term implications of the same. If used wisely, this can be a time of family bonding and fostering relationships with your family. Look for ways and means to engage your kids so that they can make the most productive usage of the time they have. Also, don’t forget to have fun, because that is where you make the best of memories.
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