Our children are home and they will be home for a couple of months going forward. In most places there are lock downs and even curfews so traveling and outings are not choices for now. Keep routines but be flexible enough to give choices about how they are accomplished so that your children feel less pressured. Be creative about new activities. Set rules and explain and have older children assist the younger ones as they learn and get through this together. Here`s how to engage them.
- Online school programs- Corona virus will eventually be over and school will resume. Even if your child`s school does not have online classes, make time to teach your child some basics like arithmetic and language. Let them learn how to read and count specific for age. Help the older children to make and follow a timetable. Most parents are not teachers so no need to stress yourself or your child with too much work. Make it fun and just make sure they do something small every day. Most of the online programs are completely free. click here for one of the free online learning programs during this crisis. In Kenya, the Kenya Education cloud is great for all age groups of learners and it is absolutely free. There are many more online programs if you feel these do not fulfill your specific need.
- Play-Be creative and flexible, try new and exciting things with your child. It is time to make discoveries. Remember children are home and there is nowhere they will be going for the rest of the day. If they are sleepy at the scheduled time of waking up, let them sleep. Do not pressure them. It is not easy for them as much as it is for you. My 6 year old daughter sometimes wakes up way past 10 o`clock and it is okay. Spend quality time when they are awake. Make time for them and play games of their choice. If they can play outside the house the better. Occasionally, accompany them and be a good play mate. If the child is alone, you can create virtual playmates but remember to limit the time spent on digital gadgets.
- Age specific House chores–Make house chores fun and the children will enjoy the learning and sooner they will be perfect at those skills. Cooking, cleaning, making the bed, washing clothes can be made fun and enjoyable. What a better time to teach these? If a child or even adult gets out of this crisis unchanged (physically, emotionally, socially and spiritually), they will have wasted the crisis.
- Learn and teach them a specific new skill-dancing, yoga, musical instruments-Pick something that you or your child enjoys and learn together through the many tutorials in the you tube. You can enroll for online classes if you want to formalize and actualize it. During this time give your children undivided attention in which you spend time to teach and learn together. You may be surprised that you are such a fine teacher!
Stay in touch virtually with friends and family. Explain to the children in a very simple way why you are not able to visit them but that soon this will happen. Encourage your children to keep in touch with their own friends and other family members. Once in a while you can make a video call and just let the kids talk. They will be happy to connect, see what others are doing and keep their sanity. Keep learning, stay safe and Show some love to those infected and affected by covid-19 infection as we get through this tide.