It may be true to assert or assume that school is always the best relief for many parents to offload the pressure of care. With this pandemic one thing that is now unheard of is the school; now what? Are you going to lock the kids in their rooms and still assume they are in school, not at all? Considering the fact that the moment they start fighting for the remote, you dare raise a finger and see yourself in those beautiful, naïve and helpless eyes, they are your perfect copy, a masterpiece of your own.
Being a parent may be tiring, so, you decided to get him the brand-new remote-controlled toy car to keep him busy during these hard times and the second time you enter his room, the parts are all over the floor. Repairing what was not even broken; but when you remember your enthusiasm with wires, electronics and becoming an engineer in your childhood, you’ll be locking the door behind you smiling.
These are some of the few problems that you’ll have to endure as a parent; but wait a minute, what about education, they have to continue learning, their safety, the home is the only place you have for them and the children are all over the house, breaking stuff, the cutlery are ever falling off the cupboard, so what about their safety around the home.
So, how do you go about it, how do you safely and meaningfully engage your kids during the COVID-19 pandemic? How do you make this scare look like a normal holiday or vacation at home ? Here are the tips to get you going:
Prepare to Answer Questions
Research shows that a child will ask about 288 questions in a day; this however, varies with age and still notably, a 12-year-old will ask an average of 144 questions in a day. From where their own toys are to why God created the coronavirus. From the reason why they are so small to the reason why you are so big, some questions are unanswerable but as a parent, you have to come up with ideas and give sound feedback. You have to prepare to answer as several questions as possible without taking an offense since it is their nature. It is also okay to say I don’t know but back it up with telling your child that at times things just happen and you will always be available for them.
Give Your Children a Sense of Security
Security is a state of the mind that is achieved through physical, social and emotional assurances. During this COVID-19 pandemic, there are several fears that are all over, true to be, you might also have panicked. Don’t let your children go through the same ordeal, show them affection, appreciate them, acknowledge their feelings and treat them with respect to assure them that somebody cares and their lives are more important because of you. By providing sanitizers, hand wash, mouth masks and frequently disinfecting your surroundings, your children will be more than comfortable that the COVID-19 is out of the bay. Some of the ways of safely engaging your kids are setting consistent boundaries, being approachable, keeping promises on material provisions and being dependable or trustworthy. Your children will feel more secure at your feet and the scare will not affect them.
Help your Children Develop Resilience and Perseverance
Resilience and perseverance go a long way; during this pandemic, you children need more personal effort in overcoming the menace and its fears, how about helping inculcate the virtues in them. While they are handling their learning, emphasize progress over perfection, encourage them to take manageable challenges and sensitize effort over the outcome as this makes them enjoy what they are doing as they can see the outcome. Go ahead and show your children during this pandemic that you are continually taking risks and getting over and above outside your comfort zone to keep them safe, you can as well talk about your challenges and the things you are doing to overcome them. If your boys are ever breaking into the garage to play with your tools or the young lady always making a mess in the kitchen, take them by hand and show them how to value everything and how they work.
Help the Children Develop Social Skills and Responsibility
There is a great correlation between self-confidence, success and social skills. Some of the social skills that you can help your children develop by engaging them constantly are the art of sharing, accepting differences, listening, conflict resolution, cooperation, humility, making eye contact, managing negative emotions and respecting other people’s rights. While staying at home to help manage the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, the children are great in helping in house chores. Don’t make them do it, show them first how it is done and the next time they will take it up as part of their responsibilities.
Avoid Harsh Words or Spanking
On one or two occasions, your house may just need an order by making a bloodshot shout to your kids or if you are the type, a spank or two more may just save you the trouble. True to say, you will have to go through this to get things done or to just get the facts straight. As a parent, during this pandemic, your children least need to be shouted at or to be beaten since it adds more panic and fear to them as they may resort to resentment and presumably there could do more than the expected inside their closed rooms. Work out things between you and your children, with your partner and among the children as well.
Conclusively, by being prepared to tackle your children’s concerns and fears, providing a sense of security, helping them develop resilience, perseverance, social skills and responsibility and avoiding bitterness you will find it much effective to engage with the children safely and more effectively. These coupled with managing anxiety by maintaining a structure or routine, incorporating physical activity, limiting access to social media and news that may cause panic is effective in maintaining your children’s psychological safety. Engage them more by allowing phone and tech-free times, teaching them new skills, following their leads, being curious and asking questions. Above all stay safe.
Engage them using online resources. There are plenty of websites and apps designed for children of all ages. You can always visit www.gubbacci.com and get creative, design T-shirts for all family members. They can be saved and shared and there is no need to buy or pay for designing the T-shirts.
Online Resources for your children and for the child in you:
- Curiosity Stream
- Beast Academy (Math)
- Khan Academy
- Creative Bug
- Discovery Education
- Crash Course Kids
- Science Channel
- SciShow Kids
- National Geographic Kids
- Free School
- Geography Focus
- Kids Learning Tube
- Geeek Gurl Diaries
- Mike Likes Science
- Science Max
Lots of board games, library books (and Kindle), tinkering/upcycling with household junk, etc.
Some resources to help with kids at home:
- Scholastic has created a free learn-from-home site with 20+ days of learning and activities.
- Pretend to travel the world. Go on a virtual tour of these 12 famous museums.
- This is the awesome free curriculum that we use. Everything from preschool activities to 12th grade is here!
- List of thinking games by grade
*More awesome free learning websites that we like to use*