The current lockdown due to Corona Virus has made life extremely difficult for parents. In absence of maids and with children stuck at home 24*7 & not being allowed to go out to play with their friends, it is becoming a nightmare for parents to handle kids while also helping in home work and doing office work.
These are some ways to keep children busy during lockdown.
- Audio Stories
What you can do – Everyone loves stories. And while young children might not be able to read stories or you may not have many storybooks, everyone can listen to stories. Instead of giving them mobile/TV remote, have your children hooked to the world of audio stories. All you need is a membership of either Storytel / Amazon Audibles / Gaana. They have good collection of storybooks in audio format in different languages. Just select any story your child may love and play it. You children will be lost listening to the stories and will not disturb you for long periods
Amazon Audibles (Free for children category until schools are closed)
- Offline Games
What you can do – To keep them away from TV and phone, encourage children to play the following games at home:
Tower from Blocks / Dominos – give children challenges on this. Ask them to make a tower 25 blocks tall, make something in the shape of an object, etc.
Cricket / Badminton – Hang a ball/shuttle in center of the hall from a fan or via nail on a door frame and have your kid practice
Sudoku – if your kid is old enough, give him Sudoku and other puzzles from old newspapers
Jumbled words – depending on age, give the kids jumbled words to solve. For eg, GLSE for LEGS
Ludo / Snake & Ladder
Name – place – animal – thing
Cards / Uno
Carrom / Chess
Joining the dots
Play Video games with them
- Give them tasks at home
What you can do – Start giving children tasks at home to help in household work. You may choose to give either the same or different tasks on a rotating basis to your child depending on their age. Few examples are folding clothes after they have dried, putting the clean utensils back in cupboards, arranging their clothes properly in wardrobe, etc. For older kids, give them other work like making the bed, dusting, sweeping/mopping floor, kitchen tasks like helping in cutting vegetables, making dough for roti, making rice, serving food, etc.
- Make them independent
What you can do – Children are very curious and want to mimic everything adults do. So use this trick to help children become independent. Challenge them to start doing a particular task to show that they have grown up. Initially, you may feel that it is time waste as children end up messing things or taking too long to do the work. But keep patience and encourage them. They will gradually learn the right way to do the task. This will help you save some time which can be used for office/housework or relaxing.
- Continue their learning
What you can do – Ensure the long break does not result in children forgetting what they had learned in their school. So, keep revising, taking surprise tests and giving them homework. Also, focus on what they will learn in the next class and try teaching some topics to them. Similarly, older children can redo their school projects which they would have done with the help of parents earlier. Or strengthen concepts they are weak in. You can also give them a topic and ask them to write an essay / prepare for a debate with you/their friends. Debate with friends can be done via phone conference.
- Give them activities they love
What you can do – Every child will have some favorite activity. Ask them to spend time on it. This will keep them engaged and away from TV/Mobile.
- Help them learn new skills
What you can do – Try teaching kid’s new things via games or points system. It can either be new concepts or new skills like dancing, music, painting, cooking, acting, singing, exercise, calligraphy, indoor sports, photography, computer skills etc.
- Make rules
What you can do – Help them learn some discipline. Set some ground rules which have to be followed no matter what. And ensure that while forcing these rules on children, everyone else in the family also adheres to them
What to do – Make a rule that no one will watch TV/mobile during meals. And everyone in the family is sticking to this rule no matter what is coming on TV.
- Spend time as a family
Once your office work is done and you have finished dinner and all other house work, just remember to spend time with kids for some time. Talk with them, hear their stories, play games with them or tell them new stories.
- Restrict TV/mobile time
You will not be able to stop them from watching TV/mobile. But at least restrict their time. Tell them clearly that they can watch only for x minutes each slot.